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  Brooks You, Me & Us
Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5

by Sterling McGarvey

Derby, England's Andrew Brooks has been producing since the age of 16. Already with a track listed on Deep Dish's Renaissance double disc from 2000 ("Pink Cigarettes"), he has a great deal of top-notch production already under his belt for someone who's only 20. Fusing the warm sounds of deep house with the spaced-out sounds of producers such as Herbert, Brooks has debuted with an eclectic blend of the organic and the completely mechanic. His debut album for Mantis Recordings, You, Me & Us, is an incredibly unique concoction of sounds, and it makes for a very fun and twisted listen. If Lisa Shaw sang Kool Keith covers (a la Martine on Tricky's Maxinquaye), but with a lot fewer dick references, it'd be around the ballpark of Brooks' gleeful madness.

Brooks press photo The lyrics of the title track describe not love or relationships, but rather…plastic surgery. Yes, plastic surgery. In spite of a beat that sounds very much like a Naked Music cut, the track's lyrics consist of bon mots such as "under the knife and under the stairs." The electro-driven beats of "Dripping in Gold" sound stuck on the dial of an r&b station in 1983, yet the lyrics sound like a mescaline-driven Live Journal entry. "Mastermix" is nearly 3 minutes of funk, driven with just a few lyrics toward the end, including the needs-to-be classic, "Let's have a party; I'm feeling fine; let's eat some sushi and drink some wine." Yeah. "Clix" falls somewhere around jazzy, deep house, with some splashes of Detroit techno added for good measure. "You See (Who She)" melds a 2-steppy beat with tinges of electro and slightly ambient sounds. The finale, "Love's Song (Repeat and Fade)," could best be described as Vangelis running up the street and colliding with Atjazz on the corner, as groceries and homewares shatter and splash on the concrete.

You, Me, & Us feels like a CD better suited to home listening than to a dancefloor. Reminiscent of Tyler Durden's side job at the movies, the tracks are cunningly subversive. In spite of its house-influenced leanings, it's the sort of album that needs to be listened to carefully. Especially since the vocalists probably did say what you think they said.

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