Old school techno. But kind of nice...

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Midnight Funk Association : Coffee Shop Rules

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Midnight Funk Association : Coffee Shop Rules

That old journalistic cliché ‘timeless’ can be glowing praise in the correct

circumstances – usually when writing about guitar music, where an inherent

shackling to tradition makes a brisk skate across rock eras a relatively

simple task. Dance music, however, is still supposed to aspire to

progression. So the fact that the debut LP from Brit-techno duo Midnight

Funk Association could have been made any time in the last ten years isn’t a

terrific compliment.

Not that there’s much wrong with Mark Broom and Dave Hill’s splicing of

speaker-damage breaks, cerebral hip-hop flourishes and tunnel-visioned

loops. ‘For The Hips’ and ‘Sexy Way’ sound primed to induce instantaneous

orgasm in big rooms the length of the nation. While for pure

arena-straddling, sci-fi techno thrills, ‘Last Time’ is exemplary – the only

thing missing, in fact, is the Hartnoll brothers’ songwriting credit on the

sleeve.

Scant innovation, then, and little progression apparent from their days as

early-’90s Mo’ Wax mainstays. A few moments — like ‘Way Back’, a twisted

convocation of deep-space humming and depth-charge breakbeats – suggests

great things still to come from MFA. But it took them nearly a decade to

create ‘Coffee Shop Rules’, and the result feels less like writers’ block

than sleeping sickness.

Noel Gardner