2021 Jul 02     
2 Bit Thugs

North-east UK producer Col Lawton drops the first part of his two-part debut album

What we have here is the first part of UK deep house producer Col Lawton's debut long-player, with TWENTY2.2 set to be released, we're told, in October/November.

Col describes it as a "deeply personal" album, and no wonder: that's his son staring out from the cover, while the album opens and closes with a couple of gentle piano interludes, Intro and Outro, both of which feature snippets of his late father speaking. But while that's all rather sweet and lovely, for the rest of us it's the music in-between the aforesaid interludes that matters, and thankfully Mr Lawton doesn't disappoint in that department.

Trailer single Deep Africa gets things going in fairly self-explanatory style, followed by the deep, shuffly and slightly wonky near-instrumental Abolonkua. But don't go thinking Afro vibes are the whole story here, because as TWENTY2.1 demonstrates, Col has more than one string to his bow. Abolonkua is followed by Casey Benjamin & Frank H Carter III collab Deep Down Love, a dreamy, soulful affair that recalls classic Naked or Om material. Then comes Empty, which pairs tuff house beats to an ultra-soulful male vocal in classic NJ deep garage style. After that, well… there's more deep garage-y goodness on I'm Not Scared, more west coast-y bizniss on Keep Your Head Up and Super Duper (the latter, interestingly, pairing Liz Jai's sweet female vocal with a male rap snip from Teddy Killerz & Nais's Supah Dupah), and more Afro-y vibes on Katembo Bridge and Operate.

If forced to name a favourite here it'd be Empty, but all told it's an album that should please anyone who likes it deep n' soulful. Look forward to seeing what the second part's gonna have in store!

Words: Russell Deeks

Release date: 25 June



Review Score: 8




Tags: Col Lawton, House Music Matters, deep house, Afro-house, US garage, Liz Jai, Frank H Carter III, Casey Benjamin