After five years without a full album release Armand van Helden is back in full and sweaty form. Starting Nympho with his own screaming rock vocals, and carrying on the rock/pop influences and solid bass lines that have characterised his brand of dance music, Van Helden's new offering is as irresistible as a raven-haired Lolita.
Take for example the breathless vocals of Creme Blush, which seem purely designed to tease, "Ah Ah. My, my, he wore a suit and tie… come and play with me, play with me." Hmm, yes please.
And if the seductively repetitive "Into Your Eyes" doesn't have you getting down and dirty with a potential one-night-stand on the dancefloor, nothing will.
Through all 13 inch… er… tracks, Van Helden seems to have hit the right combination of crowd-pleasing yet dynamic sounds that hint at wild nights and wilder women. As usual, his spot-on use of sampling is prodigious and raw rocks riffs blend seamlessly with pure house.
"When The Lights Go Down" has a rhythmic 80s punk-rock vibe, using instantly recognisable excerpts from Nick Gilder's "Rock Away". While the massive radio hit "MY MY MY" features a sample from a Gary Wright recording.
Also guaranteed to raise the temperature and have you subconsciously licking your lips is the very catchy "Hear My Name", featuring Spalding Rockwell. It's made for coquettish 19-year-olds.
But where Van Helden really excels is in his superlative use of vocals. The slightly rasping voice of Jessy Moss on "Sugar" is pure sex, reminiscent of a younger Saffron or Skin. This track is the highlight of Nympho and the one most likely to induce heavy-breathing. With its catchy electro-drum beats, hypnotic vocals and perfectly pitched rhythm, it's a delicious turn-on.
The innovative amalgamation of rock and house is pretty common now, but Van Helden has been doing it longer than most. Certainly a couple of his tracks don't quite hit the G-spot, but when he does… well, it's orgasmic. There are shades of everything from Chemical Brothers to Tricky to Elastica in here, giving it a broad sex appeal.
So sidestep the strip joint and rather spend your cash on this kinky Nympho. It offers more entertainment than a pornstar and is bound to become a classic house album.
- Amanda Whitehouse
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