Over the past few years, Crosstown Rebels has undeniably been on quite a roll. Rather quickly, its label roster has become populated with a litany of stars, as artists like Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Art Department, and label boss Damian Lazarus have become some of the most in-demand DJs on the planet. Flanked by like-minded imprints such as Visionquest and Hot Creations, Crosstown Rebels is at the forefront of a unique brand of house music, one that references the bounce and carefree spirit of disco and '80s funk while offering a cleanly produced, Ibiza-friendly vibe. Love it or hate it—make no mistake, the scene certainly has its detractors—Crosstown Rebels has been wildly successful. The label's latest offering is "Infinity," a new single from UK duo Infinty Ink, and while it's not hard to imagine legions of clubbers collectively losing their shit to this record, that doesn't actually mean the songs within are any good.
Infinity Ink is a collaboration between Luca C. and Ali Love. The latter has been crooning on house records for years now, and similarly lends his pipes to this project. The duo debuted last year with "Games," the lead cut from Hot Creations' Post Summer Sampler Part 1. Riding along a chunky bassline, the track was a bright and colorful piece of sun-streaked dance music that tastefully walked the line between disco, house, and Prince-era funk.
"Infinity," on the other hand, finds the producers throwing all notions of taste right out the window. Musically, it's a rather simple tune, relying on little more than a steady kick and a thick bassline to move things along. It's likely that simplicity was intentional, as the song's creators apparently wanted to leave plenty of room for the vocals to take center stage. This was a mistake. Referring to the vocals on "Infinity" as over the top would be a gross understatement, as Ali Love's attempt to make a tongue-in-cheek, vocal-driven anthem instead sounds like a '90s-referencing lampoon that one might hear in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Delivering his words with all sorts of boy-band bombast, Love repeats "Oh!/You know we are the infinity" ad nauseum throughout the track. In fairness, his verses are more charming, sounding not unlike the coy approach occasionally adopted by outfits like Azari & III, but no amount of sass can mask the song's absurdly trite lyrics, including gems like, "Hey, I want to tell you about my life/Every day I like to bump and get high/Everyone I know/They love to get down/Everybody turn it up/And then we turn the world around." Granted, "Infinity" is a just club track, a medium where deepness isn't—and shouldn't—be required, but the song is taking the notion of "vapid party anthem" way too far, a situation that only worsens when an ill-advised rap kicks in just after the three-minute mark.
The single's other selections fare better, but the improvement is only marginal. Infinity Ink has included another original cut, "House of Infinity," a more straightforward offering with jacking house rhythms and lurching bass tones. Love's vocals are still all over the tune, but he's turned down the camp to an acceptable level. Things still get a bit ridiculous as "House of Infinity" climaxes in the track's final two minutes, but overall, it's a far more tolerable affair than "Infinity." Speaking of the title track, the 12" also includes a remix of the song by New Jersey garage legend Todd Edwards. Following his usual formula, Edwards dumps most of the original tune while employing shuffling, stop-and-start percussion and going to work on the Love's vocals, chopping them up and pitch-shifting the pieces to create entirely new melodies. Without question, it's the highlight of the 12", but when a Todd Edwards remix is only capable of bringing a song to a passable—as opposed to exceptional—level, it's a clear sign that the source material has some major problems.