Available on: Swamp81 12″

Obviously there has been a lot of hype and a lot of debate about ‘Sicko Cell’. A sizable amount of that hype has revolved around the unknown artist behind it – whether the track would’ve been so talked about had people known the identity of its creator from the start. The answer is probably no, but it’s marginal, for two reasons.

Firstly, that the person behind ‘Sicko Cell’ (let’s face it, if you care to look then the information’s out there) is of a sufficiently high profile for any new release by them to be hyped. And secondly, because a track as catchy as ‘Sicko Cell’, played by the calibre of DJs who were initially supporting it (Oneman, Jackmaster, Loefah) could have been the first single from some unknown kid, and it still would’ve caught on.

That’s the thing about ‘Sicko Cell’: it’s catchy, but it’s actually not that danceable. There’s a bass drop, but it’s a subtle one before the track’s really found its rhythm, and there’s no real climax. Instead, the focus is on a subtle 808 rhythm, a vocal hook that’s tailor-made to be sung along with, and that twisted breakdown (which probably is the track’s climax, in truth, but there’s no drop, no bass, no launch to it).

Personally, I’m all for it. You could argue that there’s no rules left to break in dance music, but the fact that a dance single can be this anthemic without having much of a drop or even being danceable is very impressive, and speaks wonders for the pop sensibility that its creator’s clearly always possessed.

Tam Gunn

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