The title could be deceiving. It’s true that Jamie Grind enters the footwork field, alien to him, to offer his interpretation of the leg-breaking rhythms from Chicago and that the first cut on this digital EP –we are praying for a vinyl release– has some more than obvious aesthetic elements from juke, such as the throbbing of the rhythm boxes and the use of certain pitched-up vocal samples. But that’s where the tribute ends, without fully entering into a sound that isn’t his. The same thing happens to Jamie Grind as happened to Andy Stott on his “Retail Juke”, recently released on Daphne: the attraction to the original material by DJ Roc and DJ Rashad is irresistible, but he can’t avoid being a disciple of luminous dubstep, and even when he’s making juke, he adds vocals that unmistakable remind us of London 2step and Todd Edwards’ multicoloured garage. Hence, the deception: it’s not a footwork single, but a Jamie Grind EP produced in cold Leeds and featuring a track where footwork is added as an ingredient to give the dish a good flavour.
That said, this is material of the highest quality. On “Saw The Light (Featuring Hackman)”, the sound transforms in a pneumatic bubble of helium voices and warm synths we associate with producers like Pangaea and Joy Orbison, although Grind is closer to passionate garage, with ambitious cut’n’paste vocals. The same goes for “Now You Know”, a very noble contribution to the garage-friendly undercurrent of the British underground. But if I had to choose a favourite tune, it would definitely be “Without You”, because it summarises everything: it has the footwork nerve, the passionate voices, the ambient bubble sound, the erotic 2step touch. This is a growing artist in action.