Not long after Bristol producer/DJ Joker emerged on the scene and started blowing minds with his melodic hip-hop-influenced take on dubstep, the genre was suddenly highjacked by the massive North American success of Rusko and former emo screamer Skrillex. Overnight, to the dismay of purists, the stark minimalism and experimental attitude of the UK scene were replaced by testosterone-fuelled buzz-saw bass lines and aggressive maximalism. Given the circumstances, should we be that surprised that Joker's debut full-length finds the musician setting his sights on mainstream crossover?
Unlike many of his peers, he resists the temptation of the frat-boy-friendly brostep route to concentrate on bringing R&B, hip-hop and grime tendencies to the foreground. Unfortunately, subtlety gets lost in the process, and only about half the guest vocalist are actually effective. Joker's knack for writing catchy melodies remains intact, though, and despite his attempts at pop politeness, the bass drops still demand to be heard on a punishingly loud club system.
Top track: My Trance Girl