There is a general feeling of anger that Rusko has abandoned his native Great Britain to put down roots on the other side of the Atlantic, both musically and literally. Like it makes me angry to hear Mourinho saying that he doesn’t remember how to speak Spanish. It makes me angry to go to Valencia and hear people say that they are going to vote for the Popular Party because thanks to them, the city is now known around the world. Nieves Herrero also makes me angry, but I wouldn’t know how to explain that. If Rusko has moved to Mad Decent, made friends with Diplo (for convenience or not), does songs for Kid Sister, and wears his pants cut off at the knees, I couldn’t care less. Why give up exaggerated, irreverent, hedonistic, danceable dubstep? Is it any worse if it’s designed to be enjoyed in a club social ritual? I refuse to accept that I’m going to go out to party and not hear “ Woo Boost” the first thing we heard from “O.M.G.!” I go crazy when I hear that confusion of wooble and distortion—I can’t help whistling that melody, my shoulders get into it, and my mouth waters. I’ve been listening to it for three weeks and there’s no way to burn it out … There it is, on my 25 most-listened-to list in iTunes.
“Woo Boost” made me think that Rusko’s debut would be an orgy of dubstep filled with the madcap spirit that reigns at Mad Decent. I also thought that Barcelona would win the Champions League in Bernabéu. Call me naive, but people live on hope. Nevertheless, not everything in this album is fun and mayhem, even though there are large doses of acid rave and powerful sub-basses rule. The first pleasant surprise on “O.M.G.!” was to find Amber Coffman singing on “ Hold On.” The vocalist of Dirty Projectors brings out Mercer’s softer side in a lovely UK garage cut. It’s a song to dance to closing down the house under the glare of white light, while reminding your friends that they are the fucking best. In the same relaxed, but miles-from-the-UK line is “ Disctric Line”: jamaican flow with a vampire atmosphere—the cut seems like it was taken right out of the mixes of DJ/rupture and Shadetek. In fact, Jamaican sound has always been an influence for Rusko, and it is no surprise to find things like “ Rubadub Shakedown,” which is digital dancehall that is very mild for the musician from Leeds. He could have gone to town on effects and distortions, but he settled for a few laser gun shots and Rod Azlan vocals. The collaboration with this MC, who will be with Caspa at Sónar, hasn’t been talked about that much if you compare it with those disco standards: Crookers and Gucci Mane. Much ado about nothing, because not even “ Oy,” the song that the Italians appeared in (which was already making its way round the internet ripped from the radio), is the bomb that could have been, nor is the collaboration with Gucci Mane the best part of the album. “ Got Da Groove” could have been a good introduction to win favours on the southern scene (look how they fight over HudMo) but they lowered the volume on Mane’s voice, as if to play it down, so it’s better if you stick with the gem “ Da Cali Anthem”.
When Rusko works on the songs, he only seems to want to demonstrate that it’s not all dubstep and Jamaica, not all bass and American dollars. As if he wanted to reclaim his British origins, evoking the death throes of the second summer of love, there is a lot of English rave heritage. If Mercer were from the eastern coast of Spain, he would be sure to do plenty of Spanish machine from its “Ruta del Bakalao.” The Englishman’s background dates back to his childhood, when rave caught him in nappies, until the house boom, when he already had acne and a big Adam’s apple. “ Kumon Kumon” is a shower of yellow smiley faces, old-school acid breaks and accelerated synthesisers raging like 2 Bad Mice. And although the rhythmic cadence of dubstep and its already legendary basses reign in the rest of the songs, there are some feints that show a taste for dance music that really goes way back. Raise your hand if you don’t think of “ I Feel The Beat” by Darude when you hear the thunderous synthesisers of “ Raver’s Spech,” or who doesn’t remember themselves dancing “ I’m Horny” by Mouse-T in your city’s fashionable “light” session when you hear “ Feels So Real,” just to name a couple of examples. The revival is cool because, as I have said many a time, melancholy is a hard drug, and on top of that, it’s free. If you are one of those people who have subwoofers, and you’re into getting a melancholy high right in the middle of a big party, you’re going to go straight to heaven with “O.M.G.!” Mónica Franco