Eddy Temple-Morris is, it’s fair to say, prolific. He has been responsible for giving first airplay to Kasabian, Simian Mobile Disco, Plan B and Justice (among others), on his XFM show The Remix, carrying the crossover tagline “Where dance rocks” – so a purist he ain’t.Â He was also responsible for encouraging the inchoate remixing talents of Tom Bellamy, picking up a remix Bellamy did for his own band, The Cooper Temple Clause, of 2006 single Homo Sapiens. Since then, the two have collaborated on a number of projects, eventually forming under the moniker Losers, who now, after many years of writing, recording, tweaking, djing, touring, reworking, and remixing, release their debut Beautiful Losers.
Three Colours sets the stall out early on: euphoric strings, a crescendo and a suitably heavy half-time drop.Â While the beat is dubstep at face value, the production portrays a much deeper allegiance to electro, giving the sound a thicker substance that aligns it more with modern day techno and big beat rather a deliberate drop of super-trendy dubstep.Â The electro influence is brought to full fruition on No Man Is An Island, aptly subtitled ‘Losers Theme’ – apt not only because it was the first single made available, but, so it turns out, because the track best encapsulates the sound of the Losers on this record – heavy electro beats, glitchy synths, euphoric strings, vocoder-laden vocal lines… and Eddy’s slap-bass.
The crossover element is expectantly ever-present, particularly on tracks Nothing Will Die and Never Meant To Be.Â It’s no surprise, having heard these tracks, to learn that the original influence and aim for the sound was that typified by Soulwax, because this is exactly the sound they have captured. The production is consistently superb, injecting energy into every minute of these tracks, but you do have to question why, for a record Eddy seems so desperate to appear ‘timeless‘ and to ‘defy anyone to listen to it and be able to pinpoint when Beautiful Losers was made‘, the primary and deliberate target for their mimicry was quintessential early-Noughties crossover stalwarts.
Beautiful Losers excels, actually, in its attempts to crossover with genres other than simple rock music.Â Flush is a pulsating dance/hip-hop collaboration driven principally by the impressive performance of Envy as she slaughters Riz in this trade off. The track is a mid-tempo electro-hop bed for the MCs, the glitchy synth line carrying the track along as the pair spread venom and energy across the mix.Â Azan is a sullen, brooding and eventually marauding trip-hop monster, using behemoth bass and jittery arabic samples to craft out a texturally dense track, carried unnervingly to its conclusion by the relentless pound of its beat.Â The album’s excellent closing track, a cover of Jane’s Addiction‘s Summertime Rolls, is surprisingly faithful to the original.Â Brian Molko‘s incredible vocals (made more incredible by the fact he apparently had a stoater of a cold on the day of recording) are inspired, and the track composition is patient, providing a real moment of breath (and breadth) to the album.Â Ok, I realise this technically counts as a dance/rock crossover, but whereas the influences are somewhat forced elsewhere, this track breathes on its own, it just is – the fact it’s a cover of a rock band isn’t important.
The record also excels at the most simple of templates – ‘Bangers’.Â Double-header Katana and Talk To The Hand are superb executions in texture and crescendo that should prove dancefloor favourites.Â Katana adds layer upon layer before any beat has really dropped, but raises the roof two-thirds through, hitting us with the full force of its beats and hell-distortion basslines.Â A huge track and album highlight.Â Talk To The Hand develops the duo’s take on glitchy electro – using stuttered vocal lines, multiple synths and jutter-bass for another dancefloor pleaser.
Beautiful Losers is an ambitious record, and on occassion it struggles because of it.Â Crossover has always been difficult to do.Â But the record is also brave and bold because of it, too.Â It drops thick dubstep, a number of electro bangers, dabbles in trip-hop, hip-hop, glitch and faithful rock-ballad covers, and it all feels at home on one record because of the consistently superb production encountered throughout.Â For this, Eddy Temple-Morris and Tom Bellamy should be applauded.Â There is no doubting, either, that this record will sound truly superb live.
- 1. Beautiful Losers
2. No Man Is An Island
3. Nothing Will Die
5. Never Meant To Be
6. Azan (Call To Prayer)
7. Sirenna (Today We See Colour)
9. Talk To The Hand
10. Summertime Rolls