Sunscreem

Ten Mile Bank

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AllMusic Review by

Sometimes, a band can redefine itself out of a great album. Granted, sophistication's never been high on the to-do list of a genre like dance music. But occasionally, an artist like Sunscreem reminds us of the genre's essential roots in the muscles and the subconscious, and the unexpected variety of wealth to be mined from that territory. Either way, Sunscreem's 1998 release, Looking at You: Club Anthems, may have carved out that territory too well. If Looking at You: Club Anthems was a fulfilling, long-term relationship abruptly cut off, Ten Mile Bank, Sunscreem's following release, would be the rebound. It's an OK time, but all it's good for is reheating the past and serving it back to you in a Tupperware container. Rather than taking advantage of the fertile ground laid out by Club Anthems, Ten Mile Bank seems more intent on copyediting -- tweaking what its predecessor has already established. Club Anthems had a radioactive shimmer that refracted out and over the beat -- a brightness too strong for the lens to take in clearly. But Ten Mile Bank seems almost too focused, too tight, and the album feels like it needs to be ripped wide open; it's full of haze and distortion, ambitions and maybe a failed experiment or two. But the Sunscreem staples really aren't that different here. The heart-thump and chamber-echo chorus of "Exodus 99" haven't been sacrificed, and the guitar-driven breakdown adds an extra layer of threat to the song, but most of the breakdowns bring the song back to sameness. Still, mediocre Sunscreem is better than the most ambitious techno music, and Ten Mile Bank remains loyal to the bass-drum thump, and gives the ear plenty of exercise while the body is lost in gyration. Lucia Holm's water-submersed vocals and centrifugal chorus-line on "Change" offer a suggestion of the near-hallucinogenic brain taffy this album could have become. "Walk Under Ladders" and "Cover Me" are happy to the point of meditation. No "Looking at You" or "Perfect Motion" here, but Ten Mile Bank still has more than enough to keep it from being relegated to the cut-out bin. Sunscreem bring back the dance, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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