The third release from fledgling UK label Paradise Club Recordings is an eclectic package—the record comprises three originals and a remix from a total of five rising producers—which touches upon various points on the spectrum between vintage house and UK garage. Even more so than the imprint's two previous knowingly eclectic releases, PCRA003 is a relatively strange proposition; with a wide range of artists and musical influences crammed across two sides of a 12", the EP feels more like a hyper-condensed label sampler, or part of a larger compilation, than a standard single. Fortunately, anything lost in cohesiveness is more than made up for by the consistent quality of talent on display.
The a-side kicks off with "Last Days Of Rome," an effort from label regular Jabru which features vocals from Joshua Idehen (who is probably best known for his collaborations with LV). It's a sleek work of groove-led, rhythmic dance music, with one foot planted in the realms of classic UK funky. Idehen—as anyone familiar with LV's "Northern Line" should be able to attest to—is one of the most consistently charismatic vocalists currently working on the peripheries of the UK's dance-music scene, and his turn here, a stream-of-conscious-style journey across late-night dancefloors, is as enjoyable as ever and perfectly complements Jabru's swaggering low-end shuffle. An impressive rework of the track by Hodge follows, which sees the Bristol-based producer up the pace, making the vocal more frantic and urgent while simultaneously transforming the beat into something slightly darker and more brooding.
The second half of the release sees a significant gearshift into the realms of full-blown party house. First off, London producer Blacksmif, another Paradise Club returnee, steps up with "Gavelock." The track is a joyously melodic, high-energy tune fixed around a classic 4x4 kick and clap beat, complete with bouncing synth lines and a meandering, slightly Balearic backing vocal. Finally, "Solace State," an effort from rising house artists Juno Sutton and MTD, concludes the EP in fine form. It's a slightly lower-key affair than the track that precedes it, but the song still packs plenty of energy with its rising synth swells and insistent tech-house bassline.
In all, for a mere four-track release, there's a lot to take in here. Still, one would be hard pressed to find any missteps anywhere on the EP, which bodes well not only for this young label, but for the interesting circle of rising artists that surrounds it.