Rating: 7 / Format: CD/LP / Label: MyIsh
Regardless of your feelings towards the mutant house strain of ‘UK Funky’, it’s a sound that’s hard to ignore – at least for people in the capital. And it’s this sound – pushed by the likes of Marcus Nasty, Crazy Cousinz, Kode 9 and more – where Donae’o’s finally found his niche. The singer’s early releases on Social Circles produced one anthem in 2003’s ‘My Philosophy (Bounce)’, but despite his production (under the alias Mr. Fidget) catching and suiting that period’s transition from dark garage to grime, his vocals didn’t click with a style of music increasingly focused on hard MCing. But with the emergence of Funky, and the genre’s acceptance of sing-a-longs and novelty dances, Donae’o became an unexpected hit machine, producing some of the young genre’s biggest hits in ‘African Warrior’ and ‘Party Hard’.
His debut album, also titled Party Hard, isn’t a bad place for you beginners to the Funky sound to start. Steadily flowing through several genres, Donae’o takes the role of both producer and vocalist throughout its thirteen tracks, with his ability in both departments shining on the soulful house tracks ‘I’ and ‘Over You’. He delves into bottom-heavy broken beat on ‘Riot Music’ and auto-tune on ‘Be Mine’, and anthems ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’ and the aforementioned ‘Party Hard’ and ‘African Warrior’ sound as good out of the mix as they do in the club. A surprisingly consistent LP full of addictive basslines and great vocals, Party Hard should impress new comers, surprise skeptics and satisfy fans, providing a perfect soundtrack for the hot summer days and nights that are hopefully to come.