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House of Jezebel – Love & Happiness

There’s something naggingly familiar about “Love & Happiness”, the latest instalment in Rush Hour’s excellent Voyage Direct series. Sometimes in house music, this can be a good thing. A shared sample, cheeky steal or familiar vocal can lift a tune from the depths of mediocrity to the dizzy heights of dancefloor domination.

“Love & Happiness”, though, is not a mediocre record. In its instrumental form, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric vintage house jam that fuses classic Chicago jack with the blissful, sometimes moody New York deepness of Nu Groove. Production wise, it’s brilliantly authentic, with just the right amount of frantic 808 claps, hissing hi-hats and original synth sounds. It has that raw fuzziness that came with original acid and Chicago house tracks – a cheap warmth devoid of digital sheen and contemporary studio trickery.

While producer Danny ‘Legowelt’ Wolfers’ instrumental is impressive, it’s the vocal version that really stands out. It’s here that the ‘naggingly familiar’ bit comes in. You see, “Love & Happiness” shares vocal and organ samples with another recent underground deep house hit, The Godson’s “Analog Love”. Both are brilliant records, though “Love & Happiness” offers so much more than its sample-mate. Indeed it’s a better record all round, not just because of the quality of Wolfers’ vintage production (which is outstanding), but thanks to the way the vocal is used. Here, the soulful vocal weaves in and out of the backing track as if it were a half-remembered dream. The result is nothing less than spellbinding.

Matt Anniss