There are few things you can count on in life besides death, taxes and abacuses. But fans of tasteful dubhouse and populist floor-fillers could always expect a regular supply of hits from Groove Armada. Good old Groove Armada. But after 12 years in their comfort zone, they’ve obviously decided that it’s time for a new challenge. Black Light is the result: a thrill-seeking expedition into songwriting with a search party of esoteric guest vocalists. There’s everything from the rousing electropop of ‘Paper Romance’ to the gritty, fuzzy, New York-ish indie-rock of ‘Look Me in the Eye, Sister’ and robot-throated light industrial in the surprisingly catchy ‘Warsaw’, which features Empire of the Sun’s Nick Littlemore.
Although GA obviously deserve kudos for making such a deliberate leap into the unknown, the results are, unfortunately, not entirely successful. For example ‘Shameless’, a collaboration with Bryan Ferry, ultimately goes nowhere and doesn’t stand up to repeated play. But when it works, Black Light is genuinely excellent. ‘I Won’t Kneel’, sung by RGBs frontwoman Saint Saviour (pictured), is a sleeper anthem, and even ‘History’, the most typically Groove Armada-ish tune, is reminiscent of Hercules And Love Affair’s more sedate moments. It’s the sound of a rejuvenated act rediscovering their muse.