Them & Us Neon Lights EP review

Them & Us are Mark Mackenzie and Liam Macleod, a pair of producers who have been together for around a year now. In that time they’ve played a couple of fests, had a few really good support gigs and now they’ve got this EP out. They do Electro stuff. I don’t generally go in for electronical music. I say generally because…well you will never see a review on this site for something I haven’t at least liked. I’m not in the game of doing bad reviews. I’ve declined to do a requested review before for that reason.

Another thing, I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. More so than usual. I don’t know all the terms or the sub genres for this type of music. While I post the odd thing here and there it’s a whole other scene. There’s not huge amounts of cross over. There’s these guys that straddle the two worlds a bit, The LED, others but this is kind of foreign territory for me. I wasn’t going to bother with a review until….well I’ll get to it when I get to it.

So, 4 track EP, mix of tunes, I like 3 and don’t hugely go for another one. I will now grope around like a man in a foreign country who only knows the words for “how much?” and “can I have a beer?”. And the swears obviously.

Things open up with title track Neon Lights. Now while I don’t go in for dance music, don’t start I class all this stuff as dance music, I did like a fair bit in the late 90’s. And I’m a fan of Daft Punk. Right off the bat the music struck me as reminiscent of the French duo. Synth keyboards and a bit of a build going on. Following classic song structure. Thrown in with this are….well I don’t know if it’s actually dub step as I don’t know that much about it. But wub wub motifs (honestly, this could end up being gibberish). Of all the tracks on the EP this is the most classically club style track as far as my dumb ass is concerned. It’s got good bits for dancing too, quieter bits so you don’t die before it’s done, Emma Hay providing the girl singing, KRTS doing some rap bits, and the lyrics are pretty much about going out and having a good time. Solid dance track, would fit in well with the big boys in mixes and that.

Now track 2….well track 2, 8 Days, is why I’m doing this review in the first place. I was listening to Marion Scott’s mighty fine show on MFR, first time I’ve managed to catch it in a long while, and she gave this one a spin. Very much enjoyed it. Some strings in the background, some mighty fine guitar bits, and a very strong hook. If that’s what it’s called in this kind of music. The main motif of the track which I assume is bassy sinth. Some mighty fine singing by Samantha Begg who I didn’t know was a singer before this. And some epic stuff as usual from Mr Toby Michaels, like me a stranger in a strange land as he’s in a rock band (for all I know he has a diploma in dance music). Whether he provides the guitars or not I don’t know. I was literally whistling what I’m describing as a hook to myself when I went to the shop for some beers. Damned fine tune, think I’ve heard it near 10 times now and not even slightly sick of it.

Track 3, Freak, is the only instrumental number on the EP and a very good piece of instrumental work it is too. Slightly brings to mind those French boys again in parts, actually reminds me of game music a bit as well. That is by no means a dig, I have heard some fantastic music in video games. I actually listen to things a few times pre-review (5th listen in a row while I type up the review) and the first couple of times I was playing a launcher game. Fit in perfectly. I’m sure it would work well for dancing along to as well, or as the score for some snowboarding footage or something. Nothing in the track really blew me away, but it was solid and I enjoyed it.

The last track, Move Your Feet, as you can guess by now, is the one that didn’t really do it for me. It’s not bad, just not my bag baby. I say that even though the person it brings to mind for me is another electronic bod that I really like, or at least did haven’t heard recent stuff. Fatboy Slim. I’ve heard old Norm put stuff like this out before. Not my thing then either. This would be when I’d pop outside for a cool down and a fag but I’m sure people who are properly in to this stuff would LOVE it.

Same goes for the whole EP. Extremely solid, well put together tracks with some interesting music choices. Track 2 is the definite stand out for me but the only one that would have me reaching for the skip button is 4. Not a comment on quality, one of personal taste. If you like electronic music go and buy a bloody copy already. If it’s not normally your thing but you like a bit, or did back in the day, give track 2 a listen, then the whole thing, THEN bloody buy a copy already. From here. It’s cheaper than a pint in a club. That would be another reason you won’t find me in clubs…

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