2017 Apr 23     
2 Bit Thugs

The album features tracks from Ilija Rudman, Max Essa, Sare Havlicek and many more

Over the past few years, nu-disco stalwarts Nang have leaned increasingly towards 80s-influenced sounds. Here, though, the label really pin their colours to the mast with a compilation that's an all-out celebration of the decade.

As such, the compilation's quite a different proposition from the label's long-running The Array series. On the latter, for every synthy cruise down Ocean Drive there's a slab of bottom-heavy funk or hi-octane glitterball stomper. Here, though, the emphasis is firmly on shimmering analogue synths, computerised vocals and lower tempos, with the only real variation coming in the form of a few excursions into out-and-out pop/rock - see Max Essa's blatant Simple Minds pastiche We Can Run, which proves that somewhere a Breakfast Club fandom is still alive and kicking.

When it works, it works brilliantly. Moon Mood's dreamy Balearic opener Stargazing sounds way cheesy at first, but those synths just keep on building and surging, building and surging until you're sucked in, like when a stand-up keeps on repeating the same line until you're laughing in spite of yourself. Ilija Rudman's Twenty Questions brings some very welcome Zapp-y squelch to the party, while Sare Havlicek's closing Magnetic Past is a chance to live - for 5 minutes and 18 seconds - in that sparkling future we were promised back in 1982, where we'd all be rollerskating around in silver jumpsuits, watching pop videos on our wrist-mounted TVs, and washing down our daily nutrition pills with gallons of Quattro. And as for Disco Doubles' Poseidon... if you've ever taken a punt on a charity shop early 80s disco album purely on the basis of the ludicrous space uniforms and hi-top fades on the cover, only to be disappointed by the music contained therein, then fear not - the gloriously OTT baroque space disco epic you were looking for is right here, Sweet Tee-via-Betty Boo rap and all.

Trouble is, when it doesn't work quite so well, what you're left with is merely a faithful (and admittedly very competent) homage to the sounds an era that many weren't that in love with the first time around. So the question here isn't really, what do I or any other reviewer think of this album, so much as, what did YOU think of the 80s? If the decade conjures nothing but good memories for you, then you're going to love this. But if remembering the likes of Falco, FR David and Our Daughter's Wedding makes you shudder, you might be better off with one of the Array comps instead.

Words: Russell Deeks

Release date: Out now


Review Score: 7




Tags: Nang, Max Essa, Sare Havicek, Moon Mood, Disco Doubles, 80s