Album Review: Kris Menace / ‘Features’ (Compuphonic)



“A summer spellbinder to warm you until winter” was Menace 2012’s stunner Electric Horizon — now in Jack Frost’s icy grip, Features follows up with 12 vocal collaborations. Whereas his first act showed a subtlety of touch when tenderising basic raw materials and rhythms close to the 80s, here he shows he can play percentages and tow the line rather more.

Early indications are that KM has picked up where he left off with Unai’s “Lone Runner”. The vocal performances are tailor-made rather than out-and-out breathtaking — this is an album featuring Miss Kittin (the Italo-styled “Hide”), Robert Owens and Romanthony, so it’s not short on firepower, but the neat vocal house pairings carry little to startle ears. The synth-pop references take tracks onto the edge of ad executive heaven, verging on EDM responsibility that’s a bit too ‘nice.’ The slo-mo crystallisation of “Golden Ratio” featuring Simon Lord and “Eye Opener” with Xavier Naidoo offer ways out, while still pretty conformist, shimmery yet pre-meditated. If “Love is Everywhere” was left instrumental, it would probably fit into the previous set perfectly. A gothic/psychopathic subtext to “Voodoo Dilate” shows its icicles, and a little bit of grit returns with Owens’ higher power dominance of “Trusting Me.”

Whereas Menace repeatedly let Electric Horizon beguile by itself, the vocals forcing the issue take the mystery out of the situation, and, only by a thin margin, make Features less charming.

File under: Love on Laserdisc, Lifelike, Keenhouse