Toddla T – Watch Me Dance (Ninja Tune)

August 28, 2011 by  

Toddla T - Watch Me Dance Cover

DJ/Producer/artist/radio presenter and Sheffield born dancehall enthusiast Toddla T is back with his second album ‘Watch Me Dance’ where he has invited a handful of guests to join him on a journey which travels back to 70′s reggae, 80′s electro, and the early 90′s rave scene.

The lead single ‘Take It Back’ is a song title which couldn’t describe the song any better. It guest stars long lost soul-pop star Shola Ama delivering her silky smooth vocals over a throwback back beat which comes from the sweaty clubs of Ibiza twenty years ago. Adding to this is the romantic rave styled piano roll which is a nod of respect to fist pumpers, glow sticks and Timmy Mallet dressed ecentrics. It’s no surprise that this is the lead single from the album.

Unlike his transatlantic predecessors, ‘Watch Me Dance’ never seems to pull of that uniqueness and memorability that Diplo achieved with Major Lazer’s debut ‘Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazer’s Do’ or that style and fluidness when Mark Ronson arrived with ‘Here Comes the Fuzz’. It seems like this album is trying to achieve that middle ground in between both releases but instead is lost in no man’s land. Songs like ‘Cherry Picking’ and ‘Streets So Warm’ are just too much of an uncanny resemblance to Major Lazer’s ‘What U Like’ and ‘Anything Goes’, and when you compare the tracks it’s hard to shrug off how similar they are.

Like Ronson, Toddla T invites many guests on this album, all of them home grown urban artists old and new. Obviously this is a great showcase for British urban musics veterans and newbies but there are only a couple of guests that leave the album in an impactful manner. This means people like Roots Manuva who sounds lost on the albums opener ‘Watch Me Dance’ as he bizarrely turns to singing instead of rapping, never really shines. And even seasoned grime artist J2K’s short verse on ‘Take It Back’ goes in one ear and out the other. Nothing really stays in the memory for long apart from Shola Ama revitalising herself on the track mentioned above and Ms Dynamite still sounding as good as she did nine years ago on album closer ‘Fly’.

‘Watch Me Dance’ is an album that shows promising ambition from Toddla T but his craft can only work on so many different genre’s before the sounds start to drift away from you, as it never really holds your full attention. It seems like this release doesn’t really live up to the ambitiousness it set out to when it was at the building blocks stage.

[rating:2.5]


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