Dusting Off... London Elektricity's Power Ballads
What is it?
Released in 2005, Power Ballads is the fourth album by drum 'n' bass outfit London Elektricity. Formed at the back end of the 1990s by duo Tony Colman and Chris Goss, the pair released their debut Pull the Plug in 1999 before Goss left to concentrate on managing the duo's record label, Hospital Records, leaving Colman to continue under the London Elektricity name as a solo project.
Colman began his career as a member of the brilliant but little-known Acid Jazz group Izit, releasing a handful of albums with the band on his own Tongue & Groove imprint and enjoying some mild success in Japan before calling it a day and co-founding Hospital Records with Goss.
Although London Elektricity began as a studio project between the pair using a variety of session musicians to record various parts, by 2003 the rolling cast of musicians were becoming more permanent fixtures and Colman decided there should be live shows to support the group's third LP, Billion Dollar Gravy. By the time of their fourth full-length offering, Power Ballads, London Elektricity had developed into a fully fledged band, featuring vocals by rapper MC Wrec and jazz singer Liane Carroll.
Don't be fooled by the name - Power Ballads is not, as the title suggests, full of the type of tunes that Bonnie Tyler might belt out on VH1. London Elektricity's sound on this record is characterised by huge, pulsating drum 'n' bass rhythms coupled with big orchestral arrangements, infused with acid jazz, breakbeat and funk, led by Carroll's extraordinarily powerful vocals. The opening track, 'Out Of This World', comes tearing out of the speakers like an orchestral explosion before settling down into a typically jazzy d'n'b groove, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Other standout moments include the hyper, twisting double bass-propelled 'The Strangest Secret In The World' and the superb, harmony-drenched 'Remember The Future', but really there is barely a weak moment on this album from start to finish.
Why should I revisit?
Hospital Records has become a bit of a drum 'n' bass institution over the years, being home to the likes of Metrik and Nu:Tone, as well as producing an award-winning podcast series, and if you're new to the label's output then Power Ballads is a great place to start. What's really great about this album though is that there are so many influences at work here that you really don't need to be a fan of drum 'n' bass in general to enjoy this record.
Who will enjoy it?
This album will appeal especially to those who enjoy the likes of Roni Size, LTJ Bukem and Adam F, but anyone with a liking for drum 'n' bass should really enjoy this and it will work for those with more eclectic music tastes too, especially fans of jazz, funk and hip-hop.