2016 Nov 13     
2 Bit Thugs

The emphasis is on polished, commercial-sounding house made to move big floors

It's been just five years since we included Sonny Fodera in an iDJ feature entitled Rising stars of deep & tech house, but it feels like longer - the Aussie producer's come a long way in a short space of time. Back then, his was a name known strictly to underground heads; this year he's done an Essential Mix, held down a successful residency for Redlight at Sankeys Ibiza and played at mainstream EDM events like Electric Daisy Carnival.

Now he comes with his third album, though you could make a case for it being his debut album proper. Where his two previous full-lengths on Cajual were collaboration-heavy, with credits for the big-hitting likes of Green Velvet/Cajmere, Gene Farris, Doorly, Dajae and Low Steppa, this one sees him stepping out fully under his own steam. A cast of (mostly female) guest vocalists do also play a crucial role, though: stand up Yasmin, Janai, Shannon Saunders, Alex Mills, Kate Elsworth, Kwame and Richard Walters, who have no shortage of toplining experience between them.

Musically, there's a degree of variety on offer, from the fragile, midtempo concoction of sonorous bass and sugar-sweet vox that is Recollections to the strutty G-house of Every Second, but the emphasis is on the kind of 'big bass plus poppy white vocals' formula that's made stars of the likes of Disclosure And when this is successful, such as on 2015 single Feeling U (feat Yasmin), the Shannon Saunders-sporting Over This or, particularly, the Alex Mills-starring Always Gonna Be, it'd be churlish to deny the tracks' anthemic, singalong appeal. This is music made to move the kind of big rooms, tents and stages that are Fodera's life these days, and it'll do that without a doubt.

For this reviewer, the sweet does start turning to sickly by the end: a little more earthiness in the vocal department wouldn't go amiss, and it's telling that the two tracks featuring an actual R&B/soul singer (Janai), which open and close the album, are among its strongest. But this is the crossover sound of today, and Frequently Flying, while it'll perhaps appeal primarily to a slightly younger audience, will no doubt sell by the truckload.

Words: Russell Deeks

Release date: 11 November



Review Score: 7




Tags: Sonny Fodera, Defected, Yasmin, Janai, Shannon Saunders, Alex Mills, Kate Elsworth, Kwame, Richard Walters