Various Vital 2 Step

Apparently this is the first domestic compilation of UK garage available, and Vital 2 Step does an admirable job of showcasing different aspects of the genre to newcomers. While the releases in North America of albums by such artists as the Artful Dodger and MJ Cole, and to a much lesser degree Craig David, have focused on slicker styles, Vital 2 Step isn't afraid to get a little bit dirty and show off hard-edged instrumental tracks. Wookie, whose stellar album has mysteriously not yet appeared domestically, contributes the hard driving "Down On Me," while the infectious dancehall vocals of Richie Dan take over on "Call It Fate." Elsewhere, the R&B and house influence in garage that has generally received the most attention is well represented. Many of these tracks are already familiar to devotees but the stylistic breadth is welcoming and holds the attention over the duration. (V2)