Rogue Traders - We Know What You're Up To
Thu 17th Apr, 2003 Music Reviewsin
After two hit singles, Rogue Traders have now released a debut album. The duo of James Ash and Steve Davis hail from the grey skies of Melbourne. These two expat-Britons have been making music together for 15 years – since they met in London – back in the “old” days they were the dance act Union State who had hits such as Out To Get You and Retrosexual. Now as Rogue Traders, they have polished a formidable debut album.
The opening track is To Be Someone and gives off a rock impression but then the drum and 80s influence kick in. Their second single release is One Of My Kind which samples the INXS classic, Need You Tonight. Which they do very well! It’s a dancier track where their house roots have been re-implanted into a tech and hardcore hydroponic system. It’s beat-heavy, bass-heavy and gem-heavy. Magnificent!
Overload is a truly wicked wicked wicked track. Here is a perfect example of what happen when you say no to the conventional rules of house. Following on from the welcome that Basement Jaxx had with their wacko track, Where’s Your Head At?, Overload is a conglomeration of a housey backdrop with big kick drums, scratchy abrasive vocals and funky punk groove.
Next track Make It Better is another huh?-house track. It’s excellent. House plus reggae, sped up. This will wake up Tarzan and Jane better than any monkey, lion or elephant can. Veeery groovy. The vocals and the chorus really do carry the track. I have a feeling that it may be underestimated – there’s so much energy charged up in this song and its bouncy rolling rhythms are sure to get every girl and drunk boy dancing!
Stay? is a slower number and can you hear the 80s coming through again? Ah… the return to childhood… or adolescence… or… dug myself into a hole, didn’t I? I can totally picture a band crooning this out this simple love choon to the mass of adoring fans. Snapping out of that, it is a cute little choon but I doubt that it will make my day. The next track Broken won’t either, but it would wake me up. It’s quite rock-y. And vocals are raw. They feel live. Plenty of electronics in this one. The beat just won’t stop-a-bouncin’. Sounds a bit like Fat Boy Slim’s Build ‘Em Up, Tear ‘Em Down.
Revolution has a promising into. It’s another multi-faceted track with house, some hip-hop, garage and rap. Feature some work from an MC called Bobby Mileage. Golden is like syrup in water. You know it’s diluted. BIG rep track is their debut single Give Into Me. Need I say anything? Pure disco house, baby – and unapologetically nothing but. This album version is different to the single release. Take It Deeper is a goodie. Very cruisy yet keeping an uptempo beat. Lift This Planet is better though, the vocals are excellent, as is the brass accompaniment – more housey than the rest and is musical in the bona fide sense.
All in all – We Know What You’re Up To is an album that is house with a fresh edge. It just might flick your switch!