Bonar Bradberry and Tom Thorpe have been musical cohorts since 2003, marking their card with eclectic selections of house and disco at Asylum in Leeds’ Mint club. While they’ve traversing We Love in Ibiza, Renate in Berlin, Croatian beaches and British basements, they’ve released a string of singles, but the new year sees them release their debut long-player on Skint.
"This album is a reflection of music we love, love to play and [that] has influenced us” Bonar explained. “It's been really interesting to make something that gives you a full hour listening experience." Tom adds: “Making the album was simply a lot of fun. I hope people can feel that!" Amid a scene that can take itself a little seriously, PBR Streetgang are as far from the black t-shirt brigade as you can get.
It’s a common cliche that albums made by dancefloor-centred producers claim they’ll expand beyond the confines of the nightclub, yet it’s no less satisfying to hear when it’s pursued honestly and rewardingly. That’s not to say Late Night Party Line is bereft of the pairing’s trademark, bass-led, groove-heavy fare. The barnstorming title track and Montu are some of their finest jams to date, coming in a sequence tracks in the second half that rubber-stamp their ability to write music to dance to. Lead single Late Night Party Line is a modern homage to US house as it weaves stuttering 909 percs, staccato lead notes and a cut-glass Loletta Holloway vocal into an intoxicating, heady peak-time bomb. Wrapped around this though, the album’s ten tracks point to Bradberry & Thorpe’s wider influences, drawing out multiple listens long after the weekend’s seratonin levels have recovered.
Lilly Juniper’s glassy vocals and distorted piano keys fade into the breeze on opener Human Being, the duo holding back the energy in an ethereal, lovelorn lament. Bookending Late Night Party Line’s contrasts is Ferric, an 80s-tinged synth journey, with Crazy P’s Danielle Moore’s sultry vocals providing the perfect counterpoint to the intense melodies and lush, choral pads. Neither would be found anywhere near previous PBR singles, and there’s an inherent musicality present that shifts into genuine songwriting. The album’s first half distinctly bides its time. Through I Left My Hear’s shimmering groove, replete with chimed leads and stripped-back percs, and Transfunction’s lumbering, acid-tinged wanderings, it gradually turns up the wick, content to take a circuitous route to the club.
Standout Everything Changes nods to the New York’s scuzzy post-millennium dancefloor punk, with The Rapture’s Mattie Safer’s spiky self-referencing lyrics bouncing over a brew of guitar licks, cowbells and handclaps as the second half of the album shifts through the gears. Special FLX’s bleeps and wobbling leads interplay with bass and tom rolls into the small hours, and Montu’s infectious piano hooks - courtesy of Crazy P alumni Ron Basejam - nod to Chicago’s classic chords, echoing the pair’s love of early house records. Scandinavian synths abide throughout the summery punch of Money, Casino, Brass, like a lost-Todd Terje A-side, while the twitchy, percussive Pork Chop Express pitches its tent in late-90s chuggy house. The magpie-like picking between sub-genres, though, comes across here with reverence and vigour, borne from a knowledge and love of music two decades deep. Late Night Party Line may be no niche experimental album, but there's a lot to be said for simply having a good time, and that's what PBR Streetgang always bring to the party.
Buy the album HERE.