As if we haven't had our fair share of dance already this year, British dubstep group Magnetic Man release their eponymous debut album. They have already scored their first top 10 hit with synth-charged lead single "I Need Air," and a recent top 20 with trancy follow up "Perfect Stranger" featuring London based singer Katy B, who is also flying the flag for dubstep (scoring her own hit with "Katy On a Mission").
Magnetic Man is uneven, not as well-rounded as I would have liked, but it's enjoyable. It opens with the trickling arrangement of "Flying into Tokyo," atmospheric scenery with heavy orchestration to compliment. It's soon eclipsed by the pounding warbling bass lines of "Fire," featuring British rapper Ms. Dynamite. It's quite a riveting track, like many on here--it's nice to see Ms. Dynamite back too.
Cranking up the dancefloor grandeur is the aptly titled "Anthemic," vociferous synths coated with sharp distorted bass lines, soaking into a robotic beat-driven mid-tempo is next track "The Bug." Toning down the dubstep theatrics to just a series of kinetic beats is "Ping Pong."
Productions get more weirder towards the middle, unfortunately a lot of it doesn't work for me. Its upturn in warbling bass, beats and soundscapes in most of the tracks in the second half, sinks the album into filler territory. It doesn't expand from the same bass, beats and soundscapes patterns. The best of this half is "Boiling Water," a spacey number backed with skittering beats and angelic falsetto from Sam Frank.
Unfortunately there's not more I like. The progressive ear-piercing electronic backdrop of "Mad" hits a sour note. Not really experimental but riotous. "K Dance," sounds awful. Uneven skittering beats and bursts of electronic noises in the backdrop. I don't get it. Katy B pops up again on "Crossover," it sounds depleted, no melody and doesn't really go anywhere. "Box of Ghost," could have done a lot more with its intricate sounds and soundscapes.
American R&B singer John Legend lays down some soulful vocals over a pretty bland production on "Getting Nowhere." Magnetic Man is kind of a letdown, I feel it could have been a stronger set. It's first half is pretty strong, showcasing its invigorating mix of dance and dubstep very well but its last half not so much or maybe I'm just not the moderate fan of dubstep I thought I was.
Best: I Need Air, Perfect Stranger, Fire, Anthemic, Boiling Water, Flying into Tokyo