Boomkat Product Review:
Playin' Me is a lush, steamy full-length - with Cooly's languid but lovelorn vocal figuring prominently throughout, mining a sweetspot somewhere between Shake Shakir's low-swung beat science, the more soulful end of Goldie's mid 90's output and shimmering UKF.
Dub is the strongest and most important current running through the record: some of its finest tracks, like the wonderful 'Come Into My Room' and 'Sunshine', rely not on drums but on echo-drenched guitar and piano chords to get their message across - rhythms become textures, textures become rhythms, and so on.
Even the more direct dancefloor numbers retain a soulful quality - despite the Funky drum tattoo and rampant synth vamps driving album stand-out 'Playin' Me', it's the fractured vocals and miasmic Videodrome synths lurking in the background that really hit. 'What Airtime' takes UKF the closest it's been to brooding techno territory since, well, Cooly's own 'Narst', and the closing triumvirate of 'Up In My Head', 'Is It Gone' and rollicking Karizma collab 'It's Serious' investigate the undimmed potential of rugged, soca-fuelled rhythm with proper righteousness and rigour.
'Playin Me' is in a venerable UK tradition of albums seeking a meditative space amid the hubbub and hardship of modern city life, using dance music to dig into deep emotional states. Classique? Aye.