EastWest – 2002 – 51 minutes

One of the highlights of 2000 was J-Walk's 'Soul Vibration' from the no duffers 'Real Fidelity' compilation. The kind of track which you dream would be playing in every bar or club you walked into, it had that timeless quality which made people wonder if its creators were around today or way ahead of themselves back in the 60s. As their debut shows, the Manchester duo of Martin Brew and Martin Desai are very much of the now, mixing up styles and cross-referencing past and future to create an album, which doesn't always click, but still works as one of the more enticing debuts for ages.

Aside from their tour-de-force of three years ago it's the likes of Northern soul tinged opener 'Tearaway' and the Guy Garvey (of Elbow) fronted 'Cariad' that really drive the album, polar opposites moodwise but perfectly capturing J-Walk's talent for doing time out or night in music. M and M lose some of their magic in the middle when they swap strings for synths and switch to more electro mode, but they pull you back with the house of 'Heavens Above!' and 'French Letter', which sounds like beats put to chamber music. You could justify shelling out for 'Soul Vibration' alone, but a handful of others here run it real close.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Tearaway - Scarlet Menace - Soul Vibration - Cariad - Following The Noughties - Petrified Blues - Tears Like A Wave- Caught On The Hop - Heavens Above! - Another Lover - French Letter - The Wasp