gala-drop

Gala Drop is a quartet from Lisbon, signed to a New York label, who have recruited a veteran Detroit techno producer, Jerry The Cat, to sing on their second album. And if that doesn’t summarise their pan-global approach, ‘II’’s first three tracks will: ‘You & I’ combines chewy dub basslines with fizzing acid synths, ‘Big City’ aims for a desert-jam west African highlife bounce, and ‘Sun God’ appropriates prog’s stylings for an extended wig-out.

Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of this internationalism is that ‘II’ ends up sounding rather rootless and ephemeral; each track is perfectly tasteful, but that politeness gets cloying over the course of an album. Gala Drop clearly aspire to the psychedelic sprawl of Fela Kuti or the man-machine perpetual motion of Battles but, while their proficiency is undoubted, ‘II’ is desperately in need of those acts’ personality. Instead, this is the kind of record that won the Mercury Prize 15 years ago and became up-market helpline hold music – it’s competent, and expertly constructed, but also frustratingly listless.

dot