Saturday, 31 October 2020

Renegade Soundwave ‎– Howyoudoin? (1994)

Style: Breakbeat, House, Dub, Electro, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute, Elektra

Tracklist:
01.   Renegade Soundwave 
02.   Bubbaluba 
03.   Positive ID 
04.   Funky Dropout 
05.   Last Freedom Fighter 
06.   Howyoudoin ? 
07.   Liquid Up 
08.   Brixton 
09.   John Holmes 
10.   Blast 'Em Out

Credits:
Written-By – Danny Briottet, Gary Asquith
Arranged By, Producer, Written-By – Renegade Soundwave

Renegade Soundwave's third album found the group continuing to do its own particular thing, though to less attention than before (all while obvious descendants like the Chemical Brothers were on the verge of blowing up big time). Compared to their monstrous debut and the equally fine In Dub, How You Doin? is more of a subtle affair -- it's not that the beats aren't pounding when they need to be, but everything from the singing to a fair amount of the drum loops take a calmer line. Certainly a fair amount of the lower-key songs on In Dub have obvious if not always as memorable echoes here -- "Bubbaluba" coasts along much like "Women Respond to Bass," though it finds its own particular groove. The group's way around dramatic flow isn't lost, though -- "Positive ID" is a brassy slice of funk-into-techno, the title track is pretty fine, and "Brixton" is a downright stormer. Gary Asquith's roughly English vocals, as before, provide a definite calling card to the whole experience (hearing him on the sort of tribute song "John Holmes" is a particular kick). Calling him the bridge between Madness and the Streets might be a bit much, but is still an apt way to consider how he brings his own upbringing to the fore. In a smartly prescient take, the band worked in the quirky yelping bit from Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde" as a sample for the song "Renegade Soundwave" itself, shortly before Gainsbourg's own revival as a touchstone for hip in the '90s. It's the band in a nutshell in a way -- always plotting its own course while plenty of other groups eventually played catch-up.
Ned Raggett / AllMusic