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Dane Rumble - The Experiment

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Rating: 4/5
Verdict: Pumping hair gel pop.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

For an album with such promising name, Dane Rumble's album is not exactly experimental. But then after the fall of his last experiment, hip-hop group Fast Crew, he is said to have wanted to create some of the melodic pop-rock that had been burning inside him for a very long time.

This sounds like it might be exactly the slick, mainstream radio-friendly collection Rumble had in mind when he set out to create it a year ago.

Falling somewhere between strobe-lit dance, exuberant pop, fleshy hip-hop and I'm-in-love-with-a-girl radio rock, the album delivers a selection of 11 party anthems. Any of them could be singles.

While it lacks any profound lyrics and at times is so upbeat it's exhausting (parts of Live a Lie would make a good Jump Rope for Heart track) the album is certainly uplifting.

It is varied too. The smatterings of rap in Cruel, his third single, give the largely dance-pop break-up song some grit, while the thick rock riffs in Don't Know What To Do, his second single, complement his healthy, lofty vocals.

It's pop that's forward-thinking, will sell, and probably won't date. Fast Crew hip-hop creeps into Gonna Be Mine, which otherwise tows the line of sing-along cheery pop - "sunshine", now there's a word you want the kids to be repeating.

While The Experiment is not the kind of album that will spur violence, melancholy or even outrageous outfits among fans (unless they start wearing the mandatory mirror glasses), Rumble's also not just some wholesome guy writing love songs for radio - he throws in the odd curse, and songs like Let You Down are quite dark and weighty. Still his general themes - about love, heartbreak, getting what he wants and knowing he is in charge of his own destiny, make it an accessible and inoffensive collection.

Fortunately for him, boy bands may not be the coolest thing around anymore, but enigmatic one-man pop shows can still be in.

- NZ Herald

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