In the 25th year of house music, it’s never been so eager to reference the past. What was once the most forward thinking genre of music is now happiest when looking to its history.
London based James Connolly, AKA L-Vis 1990 has been slowly building up a reputation for 1990s influenced house music and his debut album ‘Neon Dreams’ continues down that path. Whereas German label Poker Flat go to ridiculous length such as recording onto cassette for their retro sounds, L-vis 1990 uses vocalists on the majority of the tracks which gives it an early 90’s feel.
There’s the obligatory nod to Daft Punk on occasions but it’s mostly a retro house affair which is in no way ashamed to be as cheesy as they come; see the 80’s synth led collaboration with Para One ‘Feel the void’ or ‘Forever you’ featuring Javeon McCarthy.
Elsewhere there’s Jerky stop start computerised r n b vocals cribbed straight from a box of dusty old house singles from 1988, the title track is am electrifying techno track and there’s even an electro ballad in ‘One More day’ but the use of auto-tune on ‘Shy Light’ ruins what could have been a radical italo disco track and totally throws the album off track.
‘The Beach’ is purpose built for mid 90’s Laurent Garnier DJ sets, the jerky ‘I feel it’ shows off his knowledge of early 90’s European house music while ‘Play it cool’ despite it’s useless lyrics ‘I aint messin’ around, play it cool, etc’, the music is shuddering bass heavy electro with tinges of early Human League, it stands head and shoulders above the tracks surrounding it. A mixed bag which just misses turning these dreams of neon turn into nightmares. 7/10