With his debut album as Poisonous Relationship, Jamie Crewe drifts hazily through glittery, steamy house music, each song melting into the next like dripping agave. The UK producer enjoys the high so much that his few mantric vocal exhalations float to the top of the mix only when he’s done sipping at a strong beverage or taking a break on the dance floor. The album’s six songs hit a uniform high in the blissed energy department, but the long-form mix style leads to a one-note experience.
The album opens with the single “Men’s Feelings”, a delirious slice of classic electronics. After repeating a string of the names of Los Angeles neighborhoods, Crewe coos the chorus: “I wanna know feelings/ Tell me more about men’s feelings.” Hints of ’90s R&B creep in on low, slow, purple synth tones, but they’re not big enough to alter the formula, the song’s 10 minutes plinking and shuffling along.
This leads seamlessly into “Nobody”, more tropical elements blending in, Crewe discussing the difficulties of finding someone after a lost love. Bongos and low tropical horns take over, evoking a house party in the stereotypical 1985 Miami. While elsewhere his lyrics feature simple, repeated sentences (as is the genre tradition), “Nite Birds” takes his words and chops and skewers them into snippets of sound, fitted into a melody far more engaging than the droned iterations of the other songs’ titles.
The album’s second side lacks any of that punch, lolling into endless nods of samba rhythms and dramatic vocal platitudes. Though the album promises to close out on “Endless Pleasure”, the song’s 12 minutes feel closer to a pleasant early evening than an ecstatic forever. After 40 minutes of largely similar rhythms and tropes, it’s hard to feel as if the album’s found a way past the issues of feelings and getting over somebody, “Endless Pleasure” and “Nobody” too closely linked sonically.
Essential Tracks: “Nite Birds”, “Men’s Feelings”