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Joy O – Wade In review

Like most of the artists on Hotflush, Peter O’Grady understands that diversity is key to longevity. Having scored a huge breakthrough with 2009’s “Hyph Mngo”, it would have been relatively easy for O’Grady to retrace his steps, sit back and wait for the dollars to roll in. However, he’s chosen to do the exact opposite, and this follow-up for Paul Rose’s label, delivered under the truncated Joy O moniker, is a less immediate affair. If “Ladywell/BB” signalled his intentions to take a house-centric turn, then “Jels” & “Wade In” is O/Orb/Orbison tackling Detroit in his own inimitable style. Indeed, despite being so strongly entwined in the UK bass narrative, the staccato drums, deep chords and, even the way the mournful synth line hangs in the air above these components, all sound inextricably linked to the Motor City.

There is a return to more familiar territories on “Jels”, but with a twist; the stop-start drums resemble “Hyph Mngo” as does the breathy vocal sample that mouths the word ‘turn’ throughout the arrangement. Once again though, O’Grady looks to other sources and the evil acid line that climaxes in unison with a series of doubled up claps, is lifted straight from the Chicago house producer’s handbook. He may not be about to give Hotflush another crossover record, but creatively Joy O’s star continues to ascend – and surely that’s all that really matters.

Richard Brophy