The Upbeats: The Upbeats
By Jacob Connor
The press release aligns The Upbeats with d'n'b compatriots Concord Dawn and Shapeshifter... and of the two The Upbeats are sonically closer to Shapeshifter, with their intricate textures and 4am Red-Bull-&-caffeine jitter rhythms as opposed to the Dawn's all-out pseudoephedrine psychosis. The package is a classy affair with automotive fetish artwork. Guest female warblers finesse a few tracks of this mostly instrumental collection. Only one of these, Lobster seems a mismatch of ethereal lightheadedness and hydraulic robotics. Sometimes what works on a dancefloor becomes moronic when scaled down to a home stereo and something designed for home listening lacks beef when given headroom and a large PA. The Upbeats strike a good balance between the imperatives of motor function and retention of the listeners' interest over repeat playings with careful layering and the use of organic elements, including acoustic guitar. Syncopated keyboard appeggios and figures between the beat bring out the bounce factor. A cosmopolitan collection of tunes and a well crafted and welcome addition to the burgeoning landscape of Aotearoean d'n'b production.