We’ve made no secret of our love for a good string section here at Alphabet Bands. Nor have we kept to ourselves how much we adore electro-pop, big dramatic sounds, and building intensity throughout a song as it grows. We’ve never had to convey an opinion about the use of audio from an aggressive late-night argument between two drunk parties filmed on a mobile-phone as a sample in a song before though. Le Tropix’s debut track, “Hold Me Down”, contains all of above so we guess that’s about to change.
A bluesy-electro-pop duo hailing from both South Wales (Antony Smith – vocals and lyrics) and South East London (James Woodville – composer/producer) the pair have created a superbly intense and powerful, radio ready track that is as challenging as it is infectious. The strings, as they often do, add a fantastic sense of urgency that will have your knuckles turning white as you cling on for the ride. From the off you can feel the intensity and then, as the drums, vocals and keys crash and explode into it, “Hold Me Down” will have your pulse rising and your adrenalin firing. It’s a huge tune, like walking away from an explosion huge.
And then there is the sample. Let’s be clear, it fits perfectly with the tone and sensibility of the song. Were it not for the swearing you could easily imagine it to have been sourced from one of the more conflict heavy episodes of Eastenders. But it’s not, and the source material is a difficult watch, though it’s not quite as bad as we expected and we’re (sadly) sure similar events occur on any number of last-train-home-at-the-weekend journeys. It is most important to note that it’s use is not gratuitous or superfluous, nor is it in anyway seeking to glamourise or even ridicule the situation. It is simply there to add another layer to an already powerful and thrilling track. It’s just, it does come from mobile-phone footage of a girl so drunk she is offering out pretty much everyone in her path before remorsefully apologising to a couple and trying to make friends with them. We’re pretty sure they didn’t need to schmooze the BFI for permission to use it, that’s for sure.
There is probably a comment waiting to be made somewhere about how society has now got so meta that we are taking samples from phone-filmed footage of real life to use in music, but then we remembered the craze for auto-tuning news footage a few years back so it’s probably moot now anyway.
In short, while the sample may be from an unusual source and is a challenging listen, it does work. Most importantly “Hold Me Down” is a track full of so many elements we absolutely love in music and is one that is fantastically rousing, intense and exciting. It is also the first of what the band say will be a new track each month so note it down and listen out for more from Le Tropix in the future.
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