Alpinestars B.a.s.i.c.

Manchester strikes again, with yet another excellent fusion of styles into a unique form of electronic dance music. Former band-mates Glyn Thomas and Richard Woolanger took their rock background and upgraded to electronics to form the Alpinestars a few years back, eventually pulling together the material that makes up B.a.s.i.c. This is an album of songs, as opposed to just tracks, and the electro melodies and big beat background give the album a solid punch. Their 2000 breakout single "77 Sunset Strip” is included here, as is "Interlaken,” with its intense build-up and fantastic kick of beats, robotic synths and voices. The album does go beyond MIDI, however, adding guest vocals on several tracks, and even turns completely acoustic on "You Rescue.” The vintage ’80s keyboard sound runs throughout, but the accompanying instruments, vocals, effects, rhythms and melodies are diverse enough to make this a solid album with a great pace from start to finish. A nice touch is the slower tempo of "Size,” which is directly (and tastefully) lifted from the ’80s pop rarity "Never Never” by the Assembly, the one-time project of ex-Undertone Feargal Sharkey and post-Depeche Mode/Yazoo and pre-Erasure Vince Clarke. Showoffs. Nevertheless, their imagination and skill with electronic-based songwriting make B.a.s.i.c. an impressive and long overdue debut. (Guidance)