Hype Williams One Nation

Anonymity's great, until everyone wants to be anonymous, then it just feels arch. That's the sense hanging over Hype Williams, the latest British act to emerge from the cover of darkness, hiding their identities and releasing impossible-to-find singles. The thing is, those singles had an interesting dynamic to them: blunted trip-hop beats, ultra lo-fi production values and mysteriously arresting female vocals. They felt like someone had found some vintage Sade demos behind their basement furnace after years of collecting dust. But what worked in small doses on rare seven-inches doesn't necessarily harbour the same effect on a long-player, which is what One Nation is: a limited-run vinyl album. The formula is much the same, but the calibre of songs isn't. And with Hype Williams, the attraction was always the sparkle of traditional song structures underneath the slapdash production and packaging, the feeling that you as a listener were discovering a bonafide hidden pop gem ― the next Massive Attack or the new Tricky ― within the mountains of British urban music making the rounds. Sadly, One Nation just doesn't have the shelf life that Hype Williams' potential hinted at. (Hippos in Tanks)