Vince Clarke and Paul Hartnoll - 2Square [Very Records]

Vince Clarke and Paul Hartnoll – 2Square [Very Records]


Well, folks, if you’ve been feeling a certain lacking in the myriad genres and sub-genres infesting electronic music over the ages, stress no more. Feeling a touch too old to go clubbing? Perhaps simply a tad lazy to pop the disco-clogs on and head out into the world of nighttime nefarious delight? Look no further, the vaguely tautological Home House is now a thing. Yup, house music to make you haul your moneymaker off the sofa and froth around the living room – curtains closed, please, think of the neighbours.


That jolly notion aside, this is a supremely enjoyable romp of a record whilst also being deceptively complex and layered. Two marks hit with utter confidence by the artists in question. Artists who have decades in all things electronic: Vince Clarke going all the way back to Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure amongst a host of lesser known projects, and Paul Hartnoll most famously half of Orbital alongside brother Phil Hartnoll. Those two backgrounds produce a rather delicious mix-up – a glistening way with melody and pop sensibility alongside a straight to the dancefloor grit. Make no mistake about it, whilst this may be mischievously tagged as coming to fruition to help dad’s, “dance as only dads can“, all eight tracks are contenders and deliciously put together. Perhaps the closest comparison would be to earlier, 90’s, clubland where the underground existed in far closer harmony with the mainstream. Labels like Strictly Rhythm out of New York or the whole host of UK independents were equally adept at blasting clubs apart, whatever the sound, with new releases whilst also contriving to have the occasional massive chart hit.


The sound here is rubberband beats, occasional rave-like stabs, bouncing basslines and a deep and grin-inducing groove. There are nods to past as in the post disco-like ‘The Echoes‘ with some highly krafty work on display and the growling, almost progressive house-sounding ‘Single Function‘ with its depth charge bass and plaintive synth line. All fully and completely realised.


With the ever more fractured dance music scene spreading its branches so very far and wide, these tracks are unusual things with broad appeal. Whether it occurs remains to be seen but there are tunes across the board here that deserve to be heard by fans of most all genres. It’s ecstatic but as cultured as you like. Takes one to a time when the hardest of techno DJs and also the most New York of garage fans would flock to the floor for a record like ‘The Bomb‘ by The Bucketheads or Leftfield could be swiftly followed by a flat-out disco screamer. Listening to the insanely infectious vocal hook and Italian piano of ‘All Out‘, once you stop wriggling, you’re left with one remaining emotion, joy. Whilst perhaps it reunites genres rather than creates a radical new one, that’s powerful currency. Innocent but dextrous pleasure is never going to be out of fashion.


Who’d have thought it? Two blokes with a combined age of 102 have produced one of the most vital discotheque records of the year. Beauty and effectiveness in equal measure. One may even be tempted to throw open the doors and take it to the patio.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.