South London's instrumental intelligentsia Paul White hits the networker's jackpot and finds a soulmate in Eric Biddines, a Floridian with a smart, sun-drawn drawl, and life-schooled tales that can pack a bite at short notice and seem to care more than they let on.
White's rep has been built on rough-skinned deconstructions from the underground. Even though he's lounging more than ever and the funk only takes up 40 minutes of your time, he's now far less skittish and fuzzy, boasting a clean bill of bohemian health. When Biddines switches up to a smoothed out, manned up singing voice to flesh out the made-to-mack twang, 'Fogged Window' becomes Golden Rules' own version of America's 'A Horse With No Name', and the hop-skip-and-jump of 'Holy Macaroni' helps establish them as a unit giving props to Andre3000 and Lyrics Born and doing hip-hop with a showman's twist.
'Play Some Luther' is a slow jam that fits so well you're not totally convinced it's a loverman's parody, particularly in directly inversing the cheesed off and up-tempo 'It's Over'. Yasiin Bey AKA Mos Def also wanders in on the bleary eyed 'Never Die'.
The album's ear-catching finish endorses 'Golden Ticket' as a rewardingly receptive, slightly slippery customer to the death. 'Life's Power', with its folk fringe, dips until it's down in the mouth, and White's low key drive to the excellent title track gees up Biddines to raise himself and flex burdened shoulders. Rocking shades throughout, its emotional versatility shouldn't be overlooked as the two cool dudes stay grounded, and you'll be forever grateful for the synching of White and Biddines' inboxes. Ignore this and you're a complete Wonka.
Words: Matt Oliver
- - -
- - -