Deepest Blue

Late September

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Judging from the classy vocal house sound of their singles, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Deepest Blue might just produce that rarest of things -- a commercial dance album that sounds as good at home as it does in the clubs. And had they stuck to that successful formula, that would probably have been the case with Late September. But for some unfathomable reason, it sounds like halfway through recording, the duo, aka Joel Edwards and Matt Schwartz, decided to abandon any dance notions whatsoever. Instead, the majority of their debut is filled with rather insipid, coffee-table chillout that meanders along for what seems like an eternity without going anywhere. Opener "Be Still My Heart" sets the scene, clocking in at nearly six minutes long without any semblance of a melody or a hook. The dreary "Can't Believe" and aimless "Turn Out Right" don't improve things, and only the four singles provide any relief from the rather monotonous acoustic sound. Luckily, the singles are of such good quality that they elevate the record into being something worth listening to. "Shooting Star," chosen as the theme music to Sky Sports News, features a lush string arrangement reminiscent of the Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony, while "Is It a Sin" is a radio-friendly guitar pop ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on a Natalie Imbruglia album. And then, of course, Deepest Blue's glorious first two singles are here: their hypnotic self-titled debut, which evokes memories of early New Order; and "Give It Away," a sophisticated slice of electronic pop that deserved to be a much bigger hit than it was. It's just a shame the rest of the record leaves you wondering how a band signed to Ministry of Sound Records could produce something that on the whole is severely lacking in any energy.

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