Fake Blood - Cells Album Review
Remember The Wiseguys? You should. Their single 'Ooh La La' soundtracked a Budweiser commercial at the tail end of the 1990s, narrowly missing out on the coveted number one spot upon its re-release. Just over a year later, The Wiseguys were no more, surviving member Theo Keating (aka Touche) opting to follow fellow founder Paul Eve (aka Regal) into other solo ventures and production territories.
Which is where his current alter ego Fake Blood comes in. Having adopted the moniker five years ago, more as an alias for a host of remix and production credits than anything else, Keating has found himself in constant demand ever since, culminating in the release of 2008's underground electro anthem 'Mars'. Since then, he's been a regular fixture on the club and warehouse dance circuit, his set in the Bollywood tent at last summer's Bestival proving one of the weekend's highlights.
Having finally gotten round to recording an album, it won't come as much of a surprise that 'Cells' embarks on a similar path to much of Keating's work as Fake Blood. Although not entirely formulaic, there's something about the way Keating fuses teetering on the edge basslines with chirpy analogue synths that make Fake Blood instantly recognisable and here that potent and occasionally heady mix is served in abundance.
Kicking off with recent 45 'Yes/No', an uplifting house number that wouldn't have sounded out of place in Brighton's Big Beat Boutique a decade and a half ago, 'Cells' bumps and grinds its way through eleven pieces of incessant techno. Forget the rise of EDM - possibly the most insidious musical genre known to man - 'Cells' harks back to the hedonistic days of yore without resorting to plagiarism or following the herd governed by dollar signs and all its associated trappings. Instead, Keating sticks to his guns and the origins of Fake Blood throughout 'Cells'. Lengthy in parts, which sometimes has an adverse effect when listening to such a record at home as opposed to in the sweaty confines of a club, it's unlikely 'Cells' will gain many new converts to Fake Blood but for those already in thrall to Keating's brilliance, more than serves its purpose.
'All In The Blink' traverses the electro/techno spheres magnificently, taking in all angles of the genres from the early nineties to the present, while lysergic house opus 'Soft Machine' sounds like an amalgam of GaGa, Miss Kittin and Felix Da Housecat, which would be no mean feat if ever such a proposition became reality. Elsewhere, 'London' provides a menacing soundscape for when the dancefloor starts to wind down while 'Contact' could just be the missing link between Hot Chip's bedroom geekiness and the euphoric tenacity of Justice.
As mentioned elsewhere, the Fake Blood live experience is undoubtedly much more fulfilling than any of his records but, as a supplementary document, 'Cells' ticks most of the boxes.