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Production superstars The Neptunes get back to penning their own tunes – with highly impressive results
Paul Nolan, 30 Jun 2008
In this writer’s humble opinion, The Neptunes – along with DFA – are the finest production team of the noughties. Their musical reference points are always absolutely impeccable (just witness the masterful manner in which they utilised the groove from Vanity 6’s Prince-authored ‘Nasty Girl’ for Britney’s ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’), and the string of hits they’ve produced for Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Kelis and Gwen Stefani have made the charts a far more interesting place.
Of course, NERD is the outlet that Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo – in collaboration with their friend Shay Haley – use to perform their own material. Their two albums to date, In Search Of… and Fly Or Die, have yielded such fantastic floorfillers as ‘Lapdance’ and ‘She Wants To Move’, and Seeing Sounds proves to be another glittering collection of expertly crafted funk-rock rhythms.
The opening ‘Time For Some Action’ sets the scene perfectly courtesy of a killer bassline, and the rapid-fire beats of ‘Spaz’ prove equally irresistible. Although the super-slick groove of ‘Yeah You’ is a beguiling experiment in disco science, the real-standout track on the album is ‘Sooner Or Later’.
The song actually starts off as a fairly innocuous slice of pop-soul, before erupting into a Technicolor chorus reminiscent of prime-time Spector. It’s followed by ‘Happy’, an excellent rock tune boasting a wonderfully catchy hook. Overall, Seeing Sounds finds Williams and Hugo once again deploying their formidable musical arsenal to awesome effect.
KEY TRACK: ‘SOONER OR LATER’