Detroit Swindle – Boxed Out
Label: Dirt CrewScore: 6.5/10
Consider the irony; while Dutch duo Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets selected a moniker that evoked the early roots of Detroit techno, a more apt name might have been ‘Chicago Swindle’. So effortlessly do they craft those classic jackin’ grooves, that you could have easily assumed it was one of the next generation of Chi-Town maestros behind the studio boards.
And their debut LP Boxed Out showcases just to what extent the Amsterdam-born pair have nailed that classic US house sound. Authentically deep and warm, it’s steeped in straightforward soulful appeal, and time and time again they capture this vibe perfectly.
The tone is set immediately with the opener B.Y.O., which would be perfectly suited to the record box of a Chicago veteran like Mark Farina or Derrick Carter. Those vocal samples, that swinging percussion, the bassline and those old-school funk flourishes. 64 Ways ushers in Mayer Hawthore as one of the album’s several vocal guests, and his talents are deployed skillfully.
Me, Myself and You kicks it up a notch with a sublime funky drive, and again, the duo’s replication of US vibes are so artfully done that the watermarks are indecipherable. The cynics might criticize Detroit Swindle for not really offering a fresh take on these sounds; on the same note though, it’s extremely hard to find fault with the job they do.
Except though, if you’re looking for something that goes beyond functional floor fillers. Detroit Swindle are hopelessly guilty of the same offense committed by so many other dance producers, in terms of essentially stacking their debut artist album with a collection of Beatport ready bangers. They will all work perfectly for their DJ sets, though for the home listener, it makes for a pleasant, though less than memorable experience.
Trying to review Boxed Out is conflicting. In respect to the dancefloor vibe Detroit Swindle are seeking to capture, it’s flawlessly on point. When it comes to content that might transcend a DJ set though, there really is nothing to be gained by listening to these club tracks outside of isolation from each other. By the time we roll up to the delicious old-school funk of You, Me, Here, Now that closes the album, it’s an indication of what could have been with a touch more versatility; though it’s too little too late, as all those excellent tunes have already bled into each other.