Stanton Warriors confirmed that their latest album, ‘Rise’, was “thoroughly tested” on dance-floors worldwide, making sure all 12 tracks were ready to go before dropping May 31st. I didn’t have a dance-floor to cross check their work, so I improvised and played the album while I got ready for a night out – if these guys could make brushing my teeth lit, they could blow up any club, right? Enlisting the help of my sister, the two of us put ‘Rise’ to the test while sharing counter space in my childhood bathroom. The result was a mega dance party that lasted well into the night.
I had barely started my makeup when ‘Up2U’ came charging through my Mac speakers, and I immediately understood why Stanton Warriors has such a loyal fanbase. Their songs make you want to stop everything and dance – I was so into the upbeat, 70s groove I contemplated changing into my bell bottoms so I could boogie my way from the Uber to the dance-floor and stay there. The feel-good vibes continued straight into ‘Forget About Me’, a catchy tune about wanting to fly solo and telling a boy it’s time to move on. I could hear the chorus of girl groups chanting ‘boy, BYE’ as they danced arm in arm to this song, and I can’t lie, I almost started singing the lyrics into my hairbrush.
With two songs off the bat that fit too perfectly into my getting ready soundtrack, I was surprised by how Stanton Warriors, comprised of Dominic Butler and Mark Yardley, won me over as a fan. Their ages are strategically hidden from the internet, but let’s just say they’ve been in the game for a looooong time – and yet, they could still reach someone like me who listens to Spotify’s ‘Mint’ playlist religiously. After hearing the album in full, it’s clear that Rise is the work of industry vets who are unafraid to push the envelope and know better than to hang in their comfort zones.
While these guys have established their legacy in the space, they’re what I call Daft Punk cool – tracks like ‘Hey Now’ and ‘Rise’ prove they don’t see their veteran status as a crutch, but rather a chance to use their knowledge to amplify and experiment with current trends. It’s the reason they’re still relevant, and it allows their signature style, ‘breakbeatbass’, to stand the test of time.
As the album played on, my sister and I continued to have a blast – we started rapidly flickering the light switch back and forth to emulate strobe lights, and were soon bobbing in sync to tracks like ‘Over You’ and ‘Sky God’. There’s a stellar ebb and flow throughout this album that threads the tracks together – songs like ‘Let Go’ and ‘About You’ are much more chill, which gave us time to recover before launching into the base-bumping ‘Greenlight’. This was helpful when I needed a second to focus on my eyeliner, but these tracks have a clear purpose – they give dancers a moment to breathe while out on the floor. There’s a particular attention to detail that Stanton Warriors has over other DJs, and it shows – they’re really thinking about the club experience in full and how it impacts their audience.
I am so excited for this album, a) because the tracks are inventive and include several killer collabs, and b) because I think it’ll win me some serious cool points with my friends. I was so impressed by the genre-smashing and decade-hopping that occurred from track to track, but more importantly, I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and clear curation process that went into creating ‘Rise’. No two tracks are the same, but the album is packaged together so nicely that you eagerly anticipate the jump in style and sound – ‘What You Got Now’ feels like something that belongs on Spotify’s ‘Dance Rising’ playlist, while ‘They Follow’ has the fiery delivery of a grime track and ‘So Divine’ takes inspo from house. By the time the album ended and I was ready to go, I couldn’t wait for the night to start – whatever party (or pregame, or bathroom) Stanton Warriors is spinning at, count me in.