A project that’s equal parts progressive and personal…

Back for his first release since 2012’s acclaimed EP ‘Club Rez’, Phil Gamble aka Girl Unit exhibits his unique craft on the translucent, timeless ‘Song Feel’.

The album features six collaborators, each of their tracks effortlessly tailored to fit the presence and style of the individual artist, exuding an assorted yet cohesive body of work. The other tracks on the album work in conjunction with its features – blissful yet bold interludes – allowing the creator to take centre stage and indulge in the spotlight of which is evidently well deserved.

From the get-go he offers the intimate and funk-driven ‘WYWD’ featuring R&B vocalist Kelela, who adds a touch of soul to the lustrous and illuminate production leads. Towards the end of the track she sensually repeats “I love making demos for my baby” – it’s almost as if the lights in the room have dimmed and a shimmering glitter-ball has miraculously descended from the ceiling.

There’s not much time for questioning though as the dreamy synths follow onto the second track titled ‘Stuck’, a raw and glitchy appearance featuring British singer Taliwhoah.

At this point in the album, if you think you’ve already sussed the capability and extent of Girl Unit’s work, you’re wrong. On ‘Sucker Free’, he adopts Brooklyn-rapper Ms Boogie who fluently delivers her abrupt and staunching verses over GU’s twisted, atmospheric beat. Followed with the euphoric interlude ‘Head’, this is the point in the album where you witness the sheer talent of the London-based producer.

On the fiery and confrontational ‘Pull Up’, rapper Thast addresses those who dare to cross her: “If you got beef, pussy hoe pull up / You wanna know the tea, pussy hoe pull up” she sings, beside its sinister rhythm and haunting bass. A sudden U-turn onto the reminiscent ‘Evidence’, which combines trap-infused pop with otherworldly vocals from R&B singer Rush Davis. It feels as though at this point you’re slowly coming full circle with the album.

Allowing each artist to dominate the tracks in their own way, Girl Unit has curated a project so personal and progressive it’s no wonder he’s made us wait so long. The incredible ’24 hours’, which sounds like something fresh off the radio – bouncy bass tones and overjoyed chords – if this doesn’t get you moving, then quite frankly nothing will.

The gentle, soothing ‘Roll’, on which striking synths almost sound like a dazed version of SOPHIE’s Highlife remix by Auntie Flo, followed by the club-ready ‘Pure Gold’ which takes you to the abundant landscape he has created.

The album finishes with 2018’s remix of ‘WYWD’  which offers a breezy and up-beat alternative to the album starter. Whether it’s best played in the comfort of your LED-lit bedroom or with the windows down in your Mini One, who cares? You can do both.

8/10

Words: Nick Lowe

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