Riva Starr If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

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Italian-born Riva Starr (a.k.a. Stefano Miele) is difficult to pin down. His talent for catchy hooks is as well known as his predilection for pilfering sounds from various genres, and both tendencies are on full display here. Whether it's Eastern European strings, horns, and accordions ("I Was Drunk," "Bulgarian Chicks," "Black Cat, White Cat"), sax-laden Miami bass ("Black Mama"), old-school acid squelch ("China Gum," "Dance Me"), or percussion-heavy Latin beats ("Maria," "Caballeros"), Starr can use it to fashion a bouncy, dancefloor-ready tune. Taking cues from like-minded producers (and unabashed supporters) Jesse Rose and Claude VonStroke, If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade finds Starr making a clear statement that house music doesn't have to be a drab, paint-by-numbers affair.