Having been eagerly awaiting TEED's debut album for some time, it was with a mixture of excitement and apprehension that I approached `Trouble'. Garden and Household Goods may have made waves, but could Orlando Higginbottom pull off an entire album of quality material, in a genre that tends to lend itself better to singles than whole albums?
Happily this is an album that completely exceeds expectations. The depth and detail encourages repeat listening and through a set of headphones or a decent sound system you find yourself picking out interwoven samples and sounds that previously went unnoticed. Driving beats and basslines and crackling electro mingle with twinkling samples and OH's own haunting vocals to compulsive effect. The tone shifts, part times uplifting and urgent, occasionally playful, then moving to more sombre and reflective territory, with some tracks possessing a haunting and lonely quality. Everywhere there is atmosphere and depth that is completely arresting. Whatever the tone of the track, it is hard not to inadvertently start tapping your foot or nodding your head when giving it even a casual listen. The whole thing just oozes quality and can be listened to end to end without skipping a track.
Trouble manages to pull off that rare trick of binding the component parts together with a common feel, whilst still allowing the individual tracks their own identity. 'Your Love' and 'Stronger' have a definite Old Skool vibe with samples and structures that feel distinctly 90s dance inspired. The anthemic `Tapes and Money' and `Household Goods' meanwhile will please house aficionados with their main stage sound and big drops. Yet arguably it is what can be found nestled around these more immediately accessible tunes that really makes this a great album; a clutch of delicately crafted pieces that drift between stark sounds and surreal vocals, to driving beats and playful loops.
I just cannot stop listening to this album and have not been so affected by a dance album for a long, long time. To give context - this for me is the most refreshing and profound dance album since Fat of the Land.
It will be interesting to see where TEED go from here and I wish Mr H all the best.
In the meantime I will definitely be on the look out for tickets to a live set.