The House & Garage Orchestra – Garage
The House & Garage Orchestra
Classics (NewState Music)

Release Date: Out Now

Much like the slowing down of songs on a piano for John Lewis adverts, turning classic dance tracks in to orchestrated arrangements is now officially a ‘thing’. The latest release in this oeuvre is the Garage Classic album from the House & Garage Orchestra and it is, well, classic. The party (and it is a party, a sophisticated one) gets started with the perfectly selected ‘Movin’ Too Fast’ featuring the vocal talents of Kayla Amor and it works superbly with a Garage staple turned in to a Chic-esque disco soul track. Following up next is ‘Flowers’ with the vocals of Sweet Female Attitude played out atop some lush keys and sweeping strings and then ‘Straight from the Heart’ glides in to view with Shelley Nelson providing stunning, soulful vocals.

On ‘Sorry’ Denzee adds his vocals as with the original and it’s as smooth as ever while ‘My Love’ has Kele Le Roc bringing her unmistakable vocals to a melody picked out on the Harp. ‘Sincere’ is not one I remember but Camden Cox’s vocals are just as impressive as her co-vocalists on the album but MC Neat steals the show on an orchestral arrangement of the anthemic ‘A Little Bit of Luck’. Shelley Nelson is back on’ Something in Your Eyes’ which feels like the closest representation of the original before ‘Things We Do For Love’ (Kele Le Roc again) creates a calming moment with use of glockenspiel and a flurry of strings.

The House & Garage Orchestra
‘Let Me Show You How’ features Shy Cookie and Kayla Amor on vocal duties and it has a smooth groove to it with some gorgeous, late-night trumpet notes dropped in just to keep it spicy. The legendary Shola Ama joins in the fun on ‘Imagine’ with rapid fire vocals before ‘Poison’ (featuring MC Neat and Oggie) makes excellent use of the brass section of the orchestra and a rolling bass line. There is some serious Garage energy on ‘Back Up Back Up Back Up Back Up’, pushing the percussion section to its limits, while MC Neat comes back on ‘Master Blaster’ with a bass melody that will have those nostalgic for the turn of the millennium in a reverie.

My favourite track of the album is Sweet Female Attitude’s take on the Crystal Waters classic ‘Gypsy Woman’ with the full works applied to that uber-catchy melody. ‘Romeo’ brings Kele Le Roc back for the Basement Jaxx anthem which is sublime while ‘Closer than Close’ (feat. Freejak, Safety First and BB Diamond) comes in at five minutes of soul infused funk that just makes me want to dance with a Kangol hat on and some Kappa swag. This mega (in every sense) collection winds up with ‘Hideaway’ featuring Tough Love and Reigns and a classic party anthem that should have 90s heads losing their senses in the best possible way. I’m not so keen on the John Lewis ‘thing’ but the reworking of these House and Garage classics is something I approve of wholeheartedly.

Live Dates:

1st June 2019 – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London