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Sully – Carrier review

Contrary to what you might think, Sully has been making steady movements for a slew of quality labels for some four years now, emitting a distinct brand of refigured 2-step styles laced with creative ingenuity. As such, he’s forged his sound amply to make the leap to long player, delivering the goods for Keysound no less.

“It’s Your Love” (named, as so many modern garage tracks are, after the vocal hook that permeates the music), kicks things off on a decidedly sparse tip, as a gently rolling swing dances with sparse globules of melody. Without so much as a segue or an intro, “2Hearts” abruptly switches the vibe up to a much more uptempo kind of funk, replete with organ pads, metallic beats and junglist dial tones. While the execution may be somewhat militant, the overall effect is still as intriguing and deep as Sully has been in the past.

Things get even cheekier on the broken beat flex of “In Some Pattern”, where the hyperventilating synths drop in and out to maximum effect. “Encona” opts for a more housey temperament through which to run a whole heap of samples, while “Let You Know” has echoes of the very early dubstep tracks from the likes of Mark One and Plasticman, on a darkcore stance that carried the torch from ’93.

That sinister vibe gets carried on in “Scram”, which also ups the rhythmic action with a distinctly juke flavour in the pogoing toms and trickling hats. As that initial track by track breakdown no doubt indicates, the primary theme with Carrier is that there really isn’t a theme. Sully adeptly flirts with a wide variety of styles, letting the long player format server as a portfolio for his many tastes and influences.

Interestingly, the last section of the album serves as something of a juke workout, but Sully chooses to place degraded, VHS quality samples of detuned pianos and warbling synths amidst the drum machine madness for a convoluted but addictive melee. It would be easy for a producer to get lost along the way tackling so many kinds of beats, but there is still an underlying consistency. In the end, Sully’s unique character, manifested in his penchant for rich melodies, reigns supreme.

Oli Warwick