Audio Bullys is a horrible cliché of a group name, and this UK duo’s music treads the same territory. Their Astralwerks debut, Ego War, is the sort of boring, unimaginative record that gives a music reviewer a wicked case of writer’s block.
Imagine a cross between the Streets and Basement Jaxx. Dumb it down a bit. Replace rampant creativity with an overwhelming desire to be famous. Then you’d have an idea of what to expect from Ego War. What’s in a name? Everything, in this case. Hang on to your egos guys, cause that’s all you got.
Ironically enough, the album’s closer and title track is pretty neat. A sort of techno battle track, “Ego War” features a sweet lo-fi synth sample and some nice production work. I listened to it a few times in a row, but I think that was as much out of distaste for the rest of the album as it was out of the track’s own strength. Another relative highlight is the hip-hop styled “100 Million,” which features asinine lyrics (check out this opener – “It was early, I woke up / Still had a joint so I puffed / Shouldn’t have, cause it got me stoned”), but a nice enough beat. “Way Too Long” is also built on a fun sample and good production, while “Real Life” is a more danceable number with a heavy techno beat but not much else. A facelift remix could easily land this cut in some trendy clubs on both sides of the ocean.
Essentially, the songs are all built on a style template rather than genuine songwriting inspiration. Sometimes that’s fine, but in this case, the goal seems to be popularity rather than listener enjoyment, and that’s not fine. I don’t like this album and don’t have much else to say about it. Hardcore fans of British house may enjoy it, as will some members of the popular audience who haven’t heard (or liked) the Streets, Dizzee Rascal, or Basement Jaxx. To me, it’s just another record that really didn’t need to be made.