The Analogue Cops, Ryan Elliott & Alex Picone – ‘Five’ EP (Bass Culture Records)

The relentless scheduling of The Analogue Cops collaborative releases can be somewhat overwhelming. With countless EPs to their name, as well as a recent album under their Third Side moniker, with living legend Steffi, the advent of 2013 sees them showing no signs of cooling off, and we’ll be all the better for it.

The ‘Five’ EP features two cuts from two collaborations, beginning with a pretty intriguing track with Ryan Elliott. ‘Homeboys’ at first glance is a typical slice of organ led house music. it is indeed a slicker affair than we’re normally used to from The Cops, but on closer inspection it has many of the same juxtapositions of sound that keep it interesting. An unsettling drone appears for the best part of 2 minutes, mutating into an early Star Trek sound effect before dropping you back into the lull of the organ and vocal combination. Their bravery in tension building here would leave most producers found wanting. The next track ‘Gentleman’ is perhaps a sound we’re more used to. It is both raw and relentless, but at times seems to be bordering on the point of parody. The relentless vocal refrain often feels unnecessary, especially when the layers beneath it are so captivating, leaving the best moment in the track to come when the vocal drops away and we’re left with a wall of sound, which you barely notice before.

The second collaboration on the EP, with Alex Picone, definitely makes for the highlights, despite being quite a departure from the usual Analogue Cops fair. The tracks are cleaner and more engaging, with an energy the previous two tracks can’t quite match. ‘Out of Passion’ is a mature house cut, and if it weren’t for the characteristic sampling and crunchy percussion you’d be forgiven for believing it wasn’t The Analogue Cops at all. It is, for me, the best track of the release, with all the elements of the other three coming together with ease and effect; hypnotic and tense are the watchwords here. ‘No Stress’ provides much of the same enjoyment, if not a little more stripped back. The rhythm takes the lead here, only embellished by small flirtations with an organ sound. This is its strength, and it is certainly the most functional piece on the record.

All in all, it’s a pretty great EP. The format of two collaborations on one record seems to let it down only slightly, in that the whole thing feels less coherent than perhaps it could. However, all the tracks have their personal charm and will certainly satisfy fans of the duo, and damage a number of dancefloors along the way!

The Analogue Cops, Ryan Elliott & Alex Picone’s ‘Five’ EP will be released via Bass Culture Records on Monday, January 14.

Sean Hughes