Lacking long-term fizz
Joker - The Vision

It has bassline crunch, and a very distinctive space-age exterior; so why does ‘The Vision’ sound like it’s playing catch up? Is dubstep evolving at hyperspeed so as to leave onetime innovators trailing, or is Joker’s sticking to the colour purple - that very distinctive bottom end that sounds burnt to a crisp - catching him between a coin-toss of staying individual and being stuck in his ways?

Liam McLean’s defence will be that it’s not an outright dubstep LP, but a part reinvention of R&B that is just as likely to get him a ticket to crossover: have super buffed synthesisers, will travel. ‘On My Mind’ has the shimmer of Timbaland and Timberlake’s ‘My Love’, and the title track would comfortably slot into the Top Forty. The path to rhythm and grime, gloss and grit is not an even one however.

‘Here Come The Lights’ is an example of Joker being damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t when fitting dubstep with songwriting, and ‘Electric Sea’ is but one chintzy ballad of the future, space-funk in cabaret-candied contradiction to the Bristolian geometry charring g-funk with afterburner boosts. Joker taking on a more chameleonic role, what with bass music being so far-reaching, only makes you want more of the likes of ‘My Trance Girl’, which accomplishes McLean’s powerful visions in space, and grime ear-piercer ‘Back In The Days’, with its jarring frequencies. Both show up on a reign in purple lacking long-term fizz.



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