Sherwood & Pinch - Man vs. Sofa

Sherwood & Pinch
Man vs. Sofa

Most often the dubstep you will hear out and about today is uninspired bullshit. Most of it is just about creating the biggest drops, the most bass and an aggressive take on dance music that feels completely devoid of creativity. Thundering bass is fine, but if it lacks an real creativity who really cares? Sherwood & Pinch two dub pioneers first collaborated back in 2015 with Late Night Endless, yet that project felt too downtempo and too confined to really make any impact. This new record however is a step back yet also forward: back in that they are pairing things down, finding really the real essence of each track, and forward because the music feels modern in fresh if not always very happy. "Itchy Face" is sheer electronica yet it has this piano line which takes the oppressive buzz of the track and softens it, makes it sound like something really beautiful. "Midnight Mindset" is similar with the use of a Cielo, but the pace is more frantic yet under controlled. Man vs. Sofa is a real exercise in control where you could allow something to grow and grow then explode, but they aren't interested in that; instead they are more interested in finding those sounds that feel universal. The dance hall inspired "Lies" takes the idea of dancehall but expands it, and mutates it into something totally different like a soup that uses a ton of flavors yet they all come together to make something better than its parts.

When placed up against some of the artists like Arca who would call Sherwood & Pinch heavy influences their music is just not forward thinking enough. They don't fall back on previous sounds too often, but you can always sense that they are right there. The cover of "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" is interesting yet not all together that good. The second half of the album really does suffer from what feels like a lack of creativity. There just seems to be less and less to surprise you, and while this section of the record does sound the most cinematic, it doesn't exactly move the needle. As something to listen to it is perfectly pleasant but you just find yourself wanting them to push more, to be even more different than they already are. However they are able really to transport you to that dark underground club where people are letting some kind of electronica wash over them in waves. "Gun Law" the albums closer, is the real weak link with Taz providing one of the weakest verses of the year. There is a lot to like about this record, but also a fair bit to cringe at. Falling somewhere in the middle is never a good thing in music, but it's where Sherwood & Pinch will have to spend some time.

6.5 out of 10


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