LIONROCK City Delirious (Concrete)

"City Delirious" is the second long-player by Lionrock, a.k.a. feted DJ Justin Robertson. And like his debut "An Instinct For Detection", it’s clear that there’s an awful lot of innovation going on here. Robertson sucks in elements of ska, soul, rap, dub, film soundtracks and early electronic music and stitches them seamlessly together, once again ably assisted by rapper MC Buzz B.

There is much that is impressive here. Take the single "Rude Boy Rock", for example, which sounds like a Jamaican dancehall rocksteady classic subtly updated by sparing use of modern technology. "Amazing New Product" bubbles like Kraftwerk with MC Buzz B blankly intoning chilling, alienating lines about being in the wrong zone. Every track sounds as if deals of care and attention have been lavished on it, not in a meticulously programmed and polished sense, but as if to ensure that the end result sounds ‘rootsy’ and ‘right’, that it has ‘vibe’ and ‘attitude’.

Unfortunately, as with Lionrock’s previous album, I can’t say I like it much. It’s the kind of album that’s easy to admire but difficult to love. Perhaps deliberately, in view of its guiding ‘concept’ (without wishing to accuse it of being a concept album, officer) of 90s urban paranoia, it sounds like it ain’t got no heart and soul. Maybe it’s because it’s so determinedly different to the kind of dance music I’m familiar with, although its habit of incorporating different kinds of, sometimes alien, genres is no different to what Goldie has achieved on his latest album. Whatever, I’m afraid that me and "City Delirious" didn’t really get on, but don’t let that put you off.