[Spooky Weirdness sleeve]"Spooky Weirdness"  (Album, 1997)

Polydor Records

This looks like a case of a major label trying to find their own hit 'alternative' dance act. This is the second album from Hydra, aka Englishman Gary Overall who has written, arranged, played, produced, engineered and mixed this. About the only thing he didn't do was sing. Instead he uses three female guest vocalists and the few guitars are contributed by one Ben Cooper. This is controlled, melodic, dance, pop music - and it's very commercial.

Occasionally the female vocals drift too much towards the "hey-yeah" of bad chart dance, but this largely steers just this side of commercial clichés. A handful of brief vocal samples and some nicely atmospheric moments are helped along by lots of lush strings, mute beats and the odd digital bleeping. Owning this won't do anything for your street cred, but if your tastes take in quality commercial dance then this is might be just the meal for you. Full-on techno heads and industrialists however should perhaps avoid. 6/10

Rob Dyer