Magnetic Man - Magnetic Man - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Magnetic Man - Magnetic Man

by Katie Butler Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-10-11

What could be better than three of the UK's most prolific dubstep producers joining forces to create a pioneering new super-group? Responsible for some of the most offensive bass lines on the dubstep scene, the trio have had their fair share of success both underground and overground. Famous in commercial circles for his 2009 remix of La Roux's 'In for the Kill', Croydon-based Skream began collaborating with fellow dub ambassador Benga, whose work on Katy B's 'Katy on a Mission' scored the newcomer a top 10 hit, at a young age. The early 90s saw the duo produce some of the most uncompromising dubstep fans had ever heard, but more recently the pair have turned their hand to slightly more commercial 'cross-over' tracks, gradually launching the once sinister genre into the mainstream. Last but not least, let's not forget Artwork who remained one step ahead of the game by signing the two young-guns to Big Apple when they were just 15. With all that to consider, it's easy to understand why expectations surrounding Magnetic Man's debut album are sky high.

Following on from the success of debut single 'I Need Air', the trio's self-named album is to be released this week. However, those expecting an album laced with offensive, drawling dub beats are to be bitterly disappointed as just a handful of the tracks show any real commitment to the genre's grimy roots. In its place stands a selection of euphoric, radio-friendly dub-pop. Oriental opening track 'Flying to Tokyo', an instrumental infusion of strings and xylophone, is remarkably beautiful with remarkably little bass and is a huge hint to expect the unexpected. From a creative point of view, however, the album certainly doesn't disappoint: highlights include the already highly acclaimed 'I Need Air' and the trio's second and arguably more impressive collaboration with Katy B, 'Crossover'. 'Ping Pong', on the other hand, demonstrates the trio's ability to manipulate and experiment with UK house and electro whilst closing track 'Getting Nowhere' is an uncontested album victory mixing gentle bass and soulful strings with the melodic vocals of soul artist John Legend.

Those who remain unconvinced need to be reminded that what works in a dingy underground club doesn't work on a main stage, and that's where Magnetic Man seem to be heading. The album isn't entirely innovative but the trio have created a recipe for success by producing a 'UK bass' compilation sure to welcome a new wave of dubstep (using the term loosely) and dance fans. Understandably, the purists may be unimpressed by the trio's transition from the shadows to the commercial bright lights, but classic dub tracks 'Mad' and 'Fire', featuring the reverberating vocals of Ms Dynamite, encapsulate the intimidating convulsion of beats that define the genre of dubstep, proving that Skream, Benga and Artwork know exactly what they're doing and are still at the top of their game.

It's strikingly obvious that Magnetic Man have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today. The album may not be groundbreaking and this certainly isn't the first time underground beats have been exposed to the harsh light of day, but the trio deserve praise for attempting to break the tight knit niche that defines dubstep and underground music. Magnetic Man is an album laced with exciting collaborations, enticing synthetic beats and gentle oriental sounds. Overall, whether the album is met with praise or contestation, it's safe to say that Magnetic Man will be 'attracting' more than their fair share of attention.

Katie Butler

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