Between touring, remixing and Friday night mixing duties at triple j, it’s been a long two year journey for The Aston Shuffle boys’ latest album Photographs – was it worth the wait?
Listening to the first half of the album, the answer is a resounding yes – loaded with collabs and singles that have been getting airplay on dancefloors across the country all summer it’s The Shuffle back at their best. Kaelyn Behr (a.k.a past collaborator Styalz Fuego), Mayer Hawthorne, Elizabeth Rose and Joel Compass are just some of the vocalists that lend their pipes for the dance driven album.
Album opener ‘Tear it Down’ has been getting plenty of remix attention from the likes of SAFIA and Indian Summer (just to name a couple) but it stands out on it’s own for The Shuffle’s ability, and unflinching ambition to write and produce tracks that are as good on the dancefloor as they are off. ‘Comfortable’ and lead single ‘Can’t Stop Now’ are my picks of the album – be it Will Heard’s falsetto mastered and manipulated into a new instrument all its own with pulsating synth chords and an echoing snare drum on the former, or the house anthem feel of the latter, helped by an Aston Shuffle signature synth melody and Kaelyn Behr’s soaring vocals.
‘Astronaut’ is worth multiple spins if only for Joel Compass’ honey vocals fresh from the UK. It’s a far more subtle offering from The Shuffle boys, synth work characteristic of the duo is combined with understated bass lines and some jazzy piano work. ‘Restart’ with Lila Gold and of course ‘Sunrise’ are solid dance tunes, but the second half of the album loses the momentum of the first half.
Something more gutsy is needed behind Elizabeth Rose’s sugar and spice vocals on ‘Back and Forth’ and overall after the anthemic highs of some of the previously mentioned tracks,
the later tracks on the album lost me a bit.
That said, Photographs is still a hugely enjoyable album and a strong effort from the Canberra boys – I cannot wait to see where they take this material on tour!
Photographs will be out worldwide on March 28. Pre-order it now from iTunes.