Armand Van Helden Nympho

After a few years of not being seen or heard from, Armand Van Helden is back with a new album. As before, he defies expectations, this time mixing ’70s rock with modern house. To be clear, this is not punk funk, this is rock house. "Nympho” begins the album with rock guitars and vocals that emulate the Hives, and punchy electronic beats. Most of the other tracks are much like this, with fuzzy guitars, real bass lines and drums that are electronic, but more rock than house. Every track has vocals from guest singers or samples, which accentuate the rock feel, as does their four and five-minute durations, instead of longer house lengths. Sometimes I have the vague feeling I’ve heard these tracks before from Fatboy Slim (which may explain why it’s on Fatboy’s label), but Van Helden’s house background always seems to shine through. Somehow, it occupies a unique position between the current electro-house craze, rock and house. The big single "My My My” is an obvious hit, which sounds like an updated ’70s soul track, but doesn’t properly represent the rest of the album. This album will certainly surprise people. If you don’t at least check it out, you could be missing the next big thing. (Southern Fried)