Album Review: Groove Armada – White Light

By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 2:00 pm

A couple months ago, Groove Armada made the announcement that they would never tour again. While this prospect is pretty upsetting, especially to someone like me who has never seen them live, as they only ever seemed to play in the major music markets (New York and Los Angeles), it made me wonder what Andy Cato and Tom Findlay would be doing in their free time. ‘White Light’, released last month, may be one answer to this question – spending more time in the studio, plugging away at new and exciting material. I’d like to believe this means many Groove Armada releases in the future. Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

While it seems ridiculously redundant for a electronic dance outfit to put out an album of remixes (more beats! more synths!), in Groove Armada’s case, they can completely forgiven with respect to what ‘White Light’ is and represents. ‘Black Light’, its predecessor, was released in early 2010 and featured some amazing collaborations, like ‘Shameless’ featuring the legendary Bryan Ferry, ‘History’ featuring Will Young and ‘Paper Romance’ featuring SaintSaviour and Fenech-Soler. ‘White Light’, touted as an album of remixes and reinterpretations, is not so much a repeat of ‘Black Light’ jumped up on E or acid but instead a nice counterpoint, a disc two if you will.

The new album includes a brand new track, ‘1980’. I guess Cato and Findlay, like Ash in their ‘A-Z’ series, think 1980 was a pretty good year to be immortalised in song. Nice song to get your body grooving. Interestingly, there are two versions of ‘History’ on here, one called just plain ‘History’, and then you’ve got the ‘Love remix’. The latter is smoother, likely to make you slink around the house listening to it on your high quality speakers (unless of course, you’re at your favourite dance place and you’ve slipped a copy of it to your friend, the DJ).

What I really like with what they’ve done with ‘White Light’ is that they haven’t gone the usual route for remix albums: tacking on needlessly long and repetitive instrumental intros or outros that are fine when you are buzzed but you quickly get bored of when you’re in daylight. More likely, they had been knocking about with alternatives to the ‘Black Light’ versions and said, what the heck, we like these a lot too, let’s release them!

Case in point: they’ve managed to take the radio-friendly ‘Paper Romance’, my favourite off ‘Black Light’, and make it even better. As the pre-chorus builds with “I feel your heat / I never wanna let you go”, then the track shoots straight into the stratosphere, with the anthemic words, “yeah, you can write me a love letter / but there’s nothing to say / don’t wanna take a chance on your paper romance anyway”. You can just imagine club-goers, hands in the air, going mental over this track and its mad beats as multi-coloured lights flash in gaiety. I don’t think you need ‘Black Light’ to appreciate ‘White Light’, but I’d argue this is the better one to start with if you don’t have its ‘earlier incarnation’. For a taste, watch/listen to the taster video below.



‘White Light’ is available now from now from Cooking Vinyl.

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