This year, Fierce Angel has released 3 summer CDs: the 1 disc A Little Fierce, the unmixed 3 disc Beach Angel 2007, and the mixed 3 disc Es Vive Ibiza 2007. So how does Es Vive measure up this time around?
CD 1 - Poolside
"Maps" opens the mix with a nice gentle intro. A very pretty track. Later on we get "Optimistic", which has a nice bit of piano, a really funky bassline and decent vocals. "After All" is a very funky track, with a great sax riff, excellent vocals, a great bassline and a really nice build up in the first minute. This is what dance music is all about!
"Don't Matter" is a bit deceptive, as it starts off a bit average. But then we dive head first into a really catchy, piano-led vocal stunner. Then there's "Take Me 2 the Sun", which has a similar feel to "Do 4 Love" - the male vocal and the style of music are definitely in the same league. That's no bad thing though. There's a nice riff that doesn't get old, and the vocals are really uplifting.
"Sound of Freedom" is a remix of "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)", the Rozalla classic from 1991. The guitars and vocals are good, but apart from the obvious use of the original chorus, the rest of the track is fairly dull. A shame really.
There are some dull tracks though, particularly "The Idea" and "Just Friends". The only really bad track is "Freedom (Make It Funny)", which starts with a really bad phone conversation that's obviously a rip-off of the old Mario Piu track, "Communication". Awful. The track itself is really poor - vocals that seem to alternate between catchy and boring, an overly meandering bassline, a really annoying cymbal that keeps going off, and a cheap-sounding brass solo. Come on Mark Doyle, you can do better than this.
Verdict for CD 1: What could have been one of the best Mark Doyle discs EVER is let down by a few bad track choices. But don't let that put you off. There are some absolutely wonderful tracks here despite the few fillers. 4/5
CD 2 - Evening
More classics are thrown randomly into the mix this time around. "Bomb the Secret (Intention)" is a new version of "The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)"; the intro goes on for a bit too long, but the overall concept is good. the vocals add a new dimension to a classic track. Meanwhile, "Better Days" uses a good and very recognisable melody from Congress "40 Miles". The vocals are a bit repetitive though. Actually, there's very little that's good about this track apart from the melody, which frankly is overused so much that you end up wondering if it's that good after all! A cash-in, basically.
"Keep On Jumping" takes a while to get going, and suffers from having a perpetual synth strings note in the background of the main "verse" (if you can call it that). The vocals are a bit overdone. After nearly 7 minutes of this, I think most people would be bored.
"(You're Putting) A Rush On Me" is catchy and has some great piano and a really enjoyable vocal. "Celebrate" is typical Peyton fare; he hasn't let us down with this track, although the organ is a bit cheesey, but we'll let him off for that as the piano that appears at 2:00 is awesome. "Feelin' Love", a personal favourite of mine, is very catchy and memorable. Different mixes appeared on the first Hed Kandi mix CD and Disco Heaven 01.03, so we've heard it before. But this track doesn't come out to play very often, and it's good to hear it here in a modified format. The piano is particularly nice.
As for "Work". I feel I'm supposed to like this track, as Masters at Work are the very first artist listed on the front of the CD. But this is very, very bad. What is it doing here? An extremely annoying vocal, banging on about broomsticks (and work... and work...) and doing a fine job of totally destroying the mood. This is the time I'd probably leave the dancefloor to go and get a drink. Listening to the CD at home means I'll just skip the track instead. Absolutely appalling.
"Automatic" is a track that will stay with you for a while. It's infectious. Great vocals, a rather repetitive chorus, but it's still good. Top track. "Sunset to Sunshine" has a nice opening leading to a really good vocal / piano section. Really nice and uplifting.
"Shame Shame Shame" and "Shine" both have good vocals, but boring or uninspired music. "Don't Mess With My Man" is better, with a catchy melody and great vocals. It goes on a bit though. As for "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" - I've heard this a few too many times. The chorus is very catchy and memorable, but the verses are not so good.
Verdict for CD 2: The quality is starting to go downhill here. There are some good tracks, but this disc doesn't really stand up as a good mix. 3/5
CD 3 - Electric Cabaret
The third disc is the "electric" mix, akin to Hed Kandi Twisted Disco (I assume). The first track, "All Woman", is average at best. The vocals are dark, not bad, but repetitive. There's a distinct lack of melody - it's just a bit of synth and drums, with the occasional guitar "stab" (nice). One of those tracks you might dance to, but it's not really suited to home listening.
We then get a good run of tracks, mixed beautifully and which are highly enjoyable. "Twisted" has is a bit heavy in places (certainly for home listeners, who are the target market for a CD, not a club), but it has a great combination of vocals and a funky beat. A bit long, but pretty good. "If" is well mixed, and it's the electric music I really like: it's not completely tuneless as I found many of the Twisted CDs to be in the past. The vocals are pretty good and the music is a house/trance hybrid (trouse?). I said this about some of Beach Angel 2006 but I think it fits better here.
"Break 4 Love" and the previous track go together absolutely perfectly. The vocals and the melodies are really good. "Body Language" is another excellent mix. The first couple of minutes of the track are a bit dull though, and the main melody is a bit cheesey for my liking. Not bad, but not great either. Later on, "I Thought That" is quite catchy. It goes on a bit and I don't think much of the vocals, but I like the music.
But then we have the bad tracks. "Let The Beats Roll" is noisy, tuneless, and annoying. If it wasn't for tracks like this, I'd like the Twisted/Electric mixes. But THIS is what spoils it for me. "Straylight" is just screeches and noises. Really bad. At least it's short! "Off Da Hook!" is more of the same. Obnoxious vocals; the rest is just noise. "Automatic Machine" - is slightly better but not by much. It's just repetitive and annoying.
"U Spin Me" continues the downright awful electric sound, sadly the vocals are actually quite good, but they're ruined with the dire "music". "Electrify" is still more of the same. Boring vocals and annoying sounds, but they're even more stupid here. I hate this track. It's just horrible to listen to. "Digital" is yet another boring mess of noise. Less annoying than the previous tracks, but it sounds cheap and full of bleeps.
Finally, in "Music Matters", the female vocals are OK, but all too often they're drowned out by the dull, repetitive music. The male vocals are average but a bit annoying. Not too bad, but far from a classic, or an anthem as Doyle calls it.
Verdict: I disliked more than half of the disc, and while there are a few good tracks and some good mixing, the rest is just not worth listening to. 2/5
Overall: This was well on the way to being a 5/5 compilation. But as I listened through it, more and more bad tracks appeared, culminating in the almost completely awful mix on CD 3. All of the mixes seem to start off well, then dip in the middle, and pick up a little at the end. I think it's high time to lose the third disc and concentrate on getting the REALLY good tracks in the other mixes. The first disc is almost excellent, but the overall feeling I get from this compilation is very "middle of the road" - simply because the bad is balanced out by the good. Ignore CD 3 and this is closer to 4/5; include CD 3 and it only just scrapes three stars. 3/5