Jagged little thrill

by

comment

God bless Roni Size. Not because he cut off those damn dreads of his, but because the Reprazent producer finally got wise and found himself a frontwoman – not a featured vocalist, not some sampled diva, but a real live fire-breathing frontwoman, – around which to build his newest drum ’n’ bass project.

Vocalist Leonie Laws is one ass-whoopin’ momma, sounding more like a bar-band, in-your-face Patti Smith type than a chanteuse. No angelic moaner soaring half a beat behind the syncopated beats and booming bass drops, Laws is so in the goddamn pocket on the title track, she’s singing along to the bassline through every wiggily twist – while on "Anti-Everything," Size and co-producer DJ Die do such a good job of putting Laws’ vocals into an angry haze, the song sounds like Portishead with a hot poker up its ass, as frenzied and as cohesive.

To their credit, Die and Size don’t just let Laws do all the work, but instead seem that much more determined to prove they’re still capable of making records for the UK dubplate mafia, while pushing jungle out of its sample-dependent climes by using live sounds and real players. "Late Morning" has live drum sounds (not, as the band name might suggest, breakbeats) and an electric guitar so live you can hear it hum, while the track as a whole is so organic it sounds like a jazz band jamming on some sideways rock shit more than the sampled-together, dark-core corner jungle’s painted itself into lately. And Laws, well, she may not be jungle’s Marianne Faithfull, but she’s damn close – and for d ’n’ b heads, she’s more than enough, maybe better. On "Rancid" she gives a taste-of-tongue-to-a-9-volt tone: "The junk in your words don’t show in your face/I’ll wait for your face to break." Break the beat indeed.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.