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The Doubtful GuestAcid Sauna
Acid Sauna, the debut long-player from London-via-Chicago’s Libby Floyd, aka The Doubtful Guest, is a fierce onslaught of 303-driven rave pressure. Opener Slaves is a decent enough marker for what’s contained within: banging drum machine action interlaced with Roland tweakery, overlaid with forebodingly dark synths and pitched-down voice samples — a good example of the kind of thing she’s dropped in recent live sets and shows what she’s capable of. From here she moves through a selection of styles, fusing dub, drum 'n' bass and straight-up party gabba, but despite her background as a classically trained musician (she’s sung with Pavarotti, no less) it all seems rather underwhelming. It’s one of those albums that feels like a collection of 12” tracks for the dancefloor, rather than a properly constructed album. For such an obvious talent, it’s exactly this musicality which seems lacking, although there’s no denying the high standard of the acid, or the drum programming — the continually metamorphosing rhythms are subtly constructed (even when the overall effect is like a repeated punch in the face).
The highlight is Brulush, which lets up (slightly) on the tempo with a hugely memorable melody and understated acid bassline — it’s a quality track and more like it would be very welcome. Unfortunately it’s back to rave-stabs-at-200bpm territory for the album's closer, a whitewash that leaves you wondering what might have been.