Cooly G – ‘Playin’ Me’

A futuristic-sounding debut from the Brixton DJ

Cooly G is a producer, a DJ, a vocalist, the founder and head of the Dub Organizer label, a former music technology tutor, an ex-semi-pro footballer and a mum. Basically, every time you ever think to yourself, “I should really do more”, it’s because people like Cooly G exist. Now the south Londoner has found time to release an album on Hyperdub, the seminal dubstep label that’s run by Kode9 and is home to Burial – and ‘Playin’ Me’ develops the UK funky sound she’s been pushing for years, with its devastating sub-bass, raindrop drums and warm vocals. Within those vocals is a pop edge, and some of her lyrics could be cut straight from the Top 40: “I would like to get to know you/I could have your number and give you a call” she sings on ‘Good Times’. “You give me sunshine/Come sex me, come undress me”, she breathes on ‘Sunshine’.

Both come with trickling, minimal beats and the deepest of drops. Other points see Cooly use her voice as an instrument, as on the synth stab that decorates the album’s title track. And there are moments with no vocals at all, like the killer drum breakdown on ‘It’s Serious’ that’s by far the funkiest moment on the record. But the best thing about ‘Playin’ Me’ is that for all its futuristic swirl, it’s a record about living in London in 2012. About late buses home, about crushing on new guys you spot in a foggy club, about going “down the street” with your mates to get a bite to eat. The only weak moment – and it’s a clanger – is a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Trouble’, which disrupts the album’s flow. But as an overall body of work it’s a homage to real life, and to seduction. As ‘Landscapes’ goes, it’s an album to make you “feel, feel, feel”.

Siân Rowe