STYLE: Dance/Electronic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 167081-26752 LABEL: Spearhead FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Andy Shaw
Steve Jeffrey, aka BCee, has been running Spearhead Records for over 10 years now and in that time has built up a reputation as a leading drum and bass producer putting out records by a wide range of talented artists. 'Northpoint' is his fourth album as an artist in his own right and was produced following a crowdfunder campaign as Jeffrey didn't want to spend record label funds on his own records in favour of supporting other artists. This selflessness was rewarded to the tune of £9,000 and fans have been given value for money with this record featuring 14 tracks over 73 minutes and drawing on the talents of a wide range of collaborators. Whilst drum and bass is the dominant sound throughout, there is a real mix of styles brought in by these collaborations. From the soulful introspection of "Black Sky" featuring vocals from Thomas Oliver to the hip-hop infused "Keep Moving" and the gentle vocals of folk singer Lucy Kitchen on "Surfacing" this record is likely to appeal to a wide range of tastes. Bringing in so many different influences can make for a disjointed record but that is not the case here with the common thread of the drum and bass beats and common themes running through the lyrics. Jeffrey has spoken of his struggles with depression and tackles that head-on, seeking to encourage people with similar struggles to persevere and offering a message of hope that you can overcome. The title-track encapsulates that message "don't give in/don't let the darkness win". BCee keeps the arrangements uncluttered where guest vocalists have been brought in to allow the vocals to stand out and does a good job of complimenting their sound. It is on the instrumental tracks that he gets the chance to show off more of his skills with more complex beats and layers of sound that play off each other. It does feel like there is some unnecessary repetition in places and I found myself switching off towards the last couple of minutes of some tracks that perhaps could have done with being closer to four minutes than six. There is much to admire on this record and it not only demonstrates the strengths of a great drum and bass producer but also introduces a number of talented vocalists that you may not have heard of before.
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