Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Andy Duguid


(Ultra; US: 27 Jan 2009; UK: 9 Mar 2009; Canada release date: 10 Feb 2009)

The debut album from this Scottish DJ is exactly what you should expect from a pal of Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, and Armin van Buuren. It is well produced, but completely by-the-numbers. Every build-up, breakdown, and progression follows a standard template developed during the heyday of Madchester. The sounds aren’t anything special, though well arranged and adequately selected, and the lyrics are the usual backslapping clubber fare. The line “you got my number but you forgot my name” (from “My Number”) pretty much sums it all up. This album is a drop in the sea.

To his credit, Believe is as good as any professional house record in terms of the quality of its sounds and dynamic mixing, which is crystal clear across all frequencies. The bass is punchy, the pads sweeping, the synth leads crisp, and the odd organic instrument sounds present. However, The aesthetic is simply too passé and pedestrian to make any impact outside of Ibiza and the Ministry Of Sound. This album could have been released five or ten years ago and no one would have been the wiser. As such, it’s for Judge Jules fans only.


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

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