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Almost a WOW

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Way Out West could have been thought of as Nick Warren’s gig when he wasn’t zooming across the globe DJing. That certainly seemed like it when he and fellow DJ and producer Jody Wisternoff wrote “Intensify” on their second album of the same name. Three years later WOW has a new album. The dance vibe is still there but the twelve songs on Don’t Look Now feel more like actual songs, not just dance tracks. Drums and guitars join the synths, drum machines, and computer cut-ups. But what really lifts this album is the new third member of WOW. Omi is what Warren and Wisternoff call their “secret weapon.” She’s not your standard issue dance track diva. Her voice is warm and breathy. Imagine a deeper sounding Kirsty Hawkshaw, and you’ll be in the ballpark. Omi’s emotional connection to the lyrics carries the tracks “Anything But You,” “Don’t Forget Me,” and “Just Like a Man.”

The songs are full of air. That’s a compliment. They’re full of space and breathe. They fit perfectly with Omi’s voice. The music matches the vocals. That’s a big aesthetic plus.

I don’t want to say Don’t Look Now is bereft of the energy needed for a good electronic dance album, because it’s not. “Anything But You” immediately kicks it with a strong break beat. “Fear” has an ex-Echo and the Bunnymen drummer flailing away. “Killa” starts with an big space-filling synth intro followed by a pumping break beat.

Don’t be surprised with all the trance elements. Nick Warren is/was one of the best trance DJs in the world. Fans of BT’s Emotional Technology will find no complaints with this album. Both are similar sonically in their use of break beats and vocals. WOW tops BT because of Omi’s emotional depth.

Giving Don’t Look Now a big WOW may be going too far. The last few songs felt too similar and began to melt together in my brain. It is a solid album that lets electronic music fans know artists want to stretch the boundaries of this limitless genre. Given the talent, they can succeed.

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About Sean Hackbarth

  • I have enjoyed this album a fair bit but not totally gotten into it. Good stuff, but nothing as instantly intensly good as on their last two. I’m not sure how much I like the new vocalist.. I bet she’s an awesome addition to the live show, but on the album sometimes it gets to sound like a bit of a lack in variety.

    It’ll probably grow on me when I decide to give it a chance though.

  • This review was chosen for Advance.net. You will be able to find it on newspaper sites including Cleveland.com.