Album Review: Rusko, 'Songs'

81 Billboard Rating

Rusko
"Songs"
Producer: Christopher Mercer
Mad Decent
Release Date: March 26

Like Harry Potter, Mr. Bean and the original version of "The Office," Rusko's references are dominantly British. Take his 2009 track "Cockney Thug," which contains samples of a monologue from the film "Snatch" by Brit actor Alan Ford. But knowing that wouldn't make the brassy blast of dubstep any more fun. So it is with Songs, the DJ/producer's first full-length for Diplo's Mad Decent. The 48-minute collection zooms through throwbacks to early Euro rave and house, reviving the unabashed, giddy quality of those first-wave years. The result is as revelatory to the uninformed (aka the teenage electronic dance music fans who clog the front row at his festival sets) as it is to electronic historians. First single "Somebody to Love" accelerates the sprightly piano vamp of late-'80s dance vocals and stitches in a bass drop, while "Pressure" hits the gas on a swing house refrain that could fit into a sunrise patio set. Rusko is most faithful on his reggae cuts, which range from smoked out ("Love No More") to gritty ("Be Free"). But "Whistle Crew" brings it all together: speedy keys, R&B vocal, reggae MC ("dubplate style") and a mooing cow noise for good measure. This is guilt-free bass bliss for a post-genre age.

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