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Boomkat Product Review:
*US Import Edition* Normally the idea of an album getting re-released as a USA edition wouldn't cause a great deal of excitement in these parts - but Team Shadetek seem to have pulled a transatlantic blinder from the bag and delivered 'Pale Fire' as a leaner, meaner and more attractive beast. Nicking their album title from Vladimir Nabokov's 1962 post-modern poem 'Pale Fire' (itself a reference to Shakespeare's 'Timon Of Athens' we think...), Team Shadetek's brand of Noo York hip-hop ensures it's clear from the off that they're pitched beyond the usual baggy jeans and bullet chic currently infecting the mainstream. Schooled in Brooklyn but with an ear firmly on the grime emissions of LDN, Team Shadetek are difficult to classify; grabbing fist-fulls of genres (dancehall, ragga, electronica, east coast, west coast...) then pummeling them into a working model that gleams with far more luster and polemical brunt than you might expect. Now getting a load of American guests in to add extra verbals to the stew, for our money the whole affair seems more natural and cohesive - becoming more overt in its objectives and less afraid to tackle difficult subjects head on. For anyone who has heard the table-tipping mixtape 'Heavy Meckle' put out by Team Shadetek a year back, their open-armed welcome for a broad spectrum of sounds will come as no surprise. Yet rather than give the impression that they're sonic magpies picking and choosing whatever takes their fancy, 'Pale Fire' is a consuming listen that sees them reapropriating the grime aesthetic through a US filter that adds a pleasing grain to the machine-gun rhymes 'n' rhythms. Kicking off with the brief introductory vignette 'Tinnitus', things hit their rolling stride on previous 12" 'Brooklyn Anthem' - wherein 77Klash & Jahdan exchange blows atop a grime/hip-hop hybrid that is so raw you'll be checking your eyebrows for damage. Keeping the adrenalin tip-top, 'Legs' is up next with Tears & Kamyo this time adding their verbals to a G-Funk influenced exchange that juxtaposes its gravel overtones with a sultry mood that you can't help but succumb to. Featuring an army of guest MCs that trample your senses with military glee, the likes of Predator, Jammer, Baby Blak, Red Dragon, Skepta, and Ruste Juxx all make their presence felt with a precision and energy that puts your average appearance to shame. With notable highlights including the horn bleached 'Make It', 'Gal You Nuh Beg's Eastern influenced backing and ragga vocals courtesy of Red Dragon, plus the lurching noir epic of 'Ka Rock', Team Shadetek have produced an album that will keep readers of Wire and Channel U equally happy. Fire in the disco!