Flevans – The 28th Devil review

Artist: Flevans
Title: The 28th Devil
Label: Tru Thoughts
Genre: Broken Beat/Nu Jazz
Format: CD, Digital
Buy From: Juno Records, Juno Download

Having been a star on Brighton-based label Tru Thoughts for over seven years now, Flevans has built up a global fanbase through his three studio albums. The last of these, 27 Devils, saw him ditch his trusty sample collection and go 100 per cent live and now as an accompaniment, he’s dropped The 28th Devil which collects remixes and reworkings of that set and more.

The new mix of “27 Devils” sets the tone nicely, balancing pacey live drums and brass perfectly. “All To Play For” is a rare moment of downtempo intensity on the album, but Flevans uses Shona Foster’s vocal to maximum effect by building it up from a whisper quiet start. Bamboos’ vocalist Kylie Auldist also appears on the album and gives some serious soul power on “One Goodbye”, which gets a tight reworking by Flevans.

The funk flows further on his mix of Ez A Divat’s “These People”, which captures some vintage New Orleans-style drumming, and on “Second Bite” which has a Ska flavour complete with some backbeat-riding brass hits. “Hold On” takes the bpm’s down to a cool mid-tempo swing, and has a classic feel that makes you wish all pop music sounded this perfect.

Flevan’s own material gets the once over from some notable names like Regal, who adds a cheeky sample from Les McCann’s “Harlem Buck Dance Strut” onto the brilliant “Lay Back”, and from Azaxx who tastefully chops up “Hold No Water” and adds some bottom-end for good measure. Probably the most drastic overhaul though comes from Budapest duo Vono Box, who marry the vocal from “Hold On” with a slinky 50’s big band sample straight from the Henry Mancini school of Exotica. A weird but wonderful mix that definitely needs to be heard. This is another essential Tru Thoughts release, and just what you’d expect from such a distinctive label and artist.

Review: Oliver Keens