Now based in New Zealand, Reed & Radley learnt their trade in northern England in the early 1990s. That probably explains the unashamed New Jersey garage/New York house sound of both "Keep On" and "Don't Let Me Down". Both are impeccable tributes to the Easy Street/early Strictly Rhythm sound, complete with hip-wigglin' beats, choice vocal samples and fluid chords. "Don't Let Me Down" offers the added bonus of some classic organs and pianos amongst the skipping snares and classic vocal samples. As old-fashioned as it is, it's certainly an accurate tribute. The package is completed by a decent remix of "Keep On" from Shallow Taxi Club, whose "Hard Dub" sounds like Mr G doing NJ garage; an enticing prospect indeed.
Neil O'Connor is an enigmatic character who appears every few years to release an album. Each one kooky, each one different. This is his first as Somadrone (an alias we like to think references the drug soma in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World) since 2010's Depth Of Field LP. This time around O'Connor delivers a flustering array of synthy, folky, pop-rock, with vocals comparable to The Whitest Boy Alive and instrumentation of a similar cadence Acido Records' releases. If Somadrone is a reference to Huxely's Brave New World, it makes the trippiness of The First Wave an enjoyable, hangover-free, aural hallucinogen you'll want to revisit time and time again.