Review: Mob Tactics – The Wasted EP

With their debut EP for 2014, Luke Bugden & Mark Sims or better known as the duo – Mob Tactics demonstrate why their name is one that’s been making a lot of noise lately. With a new, unique, and absolute skank-worthy style of techy drum and bass on C4C Recordings, The Wasted EP sets the bar for EP of the year.

Being a modern nod to the mid-2000 era sounds of drum and bass, The Wasted EP brings back the glory days of the rave for a lot of people; a time when the likes of Ed Rush & Optical, Ram Trilogy, & Bad Company were doing the heads in of many on a weekly basis. Additionally, this release also particularly reminds me of the Dimensions 4 EP (RAMM81) and that’s a huge compliment considering that release involved Noisia, Lomax, Xample and Culture Shock. It was a 2009 release, but one that still reminded me of a fresh take on an earlier sound; an evolution of the genre. It’s no secret drum and bass is roaring again this year, and Mob Tactics are taking the lead.

The Wasted EP kicks off with a reminder of the lineup-stacked, fidgety raves from drum and bass’ golden-era. The lead track “Wasted” is a highly influenced track with the synths of Xample and bass-growls of Bad Company coming to mind, but with the Mob Tactics spin. The intro is a classic combination of hype sirens and fidgety hi-hats that lead up to crunching reese’s that build the core of “Wasted.” The various bass-synth’s and reese’s of the intro travel through the entire sound spectrum; building the kind of drive that makes you grab your friend and go nuts in the club or at a festival.

The drop of “Wasted” hits and the bass consumes; pulsing and moving its way through your body alongside frantic drums that make your feet step, and trigger-fingers come out in full effect. The change ups of “Wasted” are tasteful and allow for some fun mixing technique, but overall the track is a constant dancefloor banger and is one that is sure to be in constant rotation for a while.

One can’t have bangers without mash, and The Wasted EP provides just that. The second track “Unbalanced” is a hard and percussive-heavy track with more drums than you can handle. Not falling victim to being overly-technical; Mob Tactics do an excellent job of not being over bearing with the drums on “Unbalanced.” Being hype is a key part of Mob Tactics productions, and the duo doesn’t lose any with “Unbalanced.”

Like something out of an asylum (as the name might suggest,) the seemingly endless bongos and frantic drums are accented by a frequent ripping bassline and bouncing alarms. The song is always changing up; keeping the listener attracted as well as giving DJ’s a funky lasher to draw for. Overall, “Unbalanced” is a very hard track and definitely keeps a dancefloor moving (I can’t even sit still and type this while listening to it.)

The third track of The Wasted EP is “Lifer,” a gangster and attitude ridden track that kicks-off with huge hip-hop inspired horns and a beat that keeps no prisoners (starting instantly and never relenting.) The drop’s sample is a testament to the gangster edge of the track – “I’mma keep livin’ my life” leads to such a frantic drop it requires a rewind. The relentless reese bass that each bar begins with changes up frequently with various effects and the second half continuously offers something new, be it with rolling basslines, more reese’s, some percussive genius, or anything else the crazily-skilled production duo can muster.

There’s no shortage of something new and the track continuously breathes new life (pun intended.) Every bar of “Lifer” offers something different and to maintain a solid vibe while doing that is a difficult task in itself. The vibes are heavy, the sounds remain the same, but each bar has something new to offer in some aspect of the track. In short, “Lifer” is actually quite genius.

Closing out The Wasted EP is the darker and grimier sounds of “Grinder.” Starting off with some fidgety samples, ominous pads, and hi-passed drums; the beat begins to come in full force with a mostly inaudible movie sample, but just before the drop we’re told – “They’re coming.” AKA upon the drop prepare for a serious screwface.

The reese’s are rude and the attitude is in your face. The hi-hats are quick and tight, leaving the listeners focus on the rude bassline of “Grinder.” Switching-up midway through, we get a load of bongos to keep you moving as well as a lot of background effects and samples that keep a dark atmosphere. For me, “Grinder” paints the picture of a black and white B-movie about a horrific gelatinous blob rolling through a city; consuming everything in its path. No one survives in this movie, just like how I imagine the dancefloor when “Grinder” drops.

In conclusion, Mob Tactics won’t let you forget them. Neither will your favourite DJ’s. The Wasted EP is an amazing four-track collection that’s sure to even garner the praise of jaded tech-step heads that won’t let go of Ram Trilogy vinyl’s, whilst also introducing the younger generation of drum and bass listeners to an updated take on a prestigious era. Out on C4C Recordings, The Wasted EP is not one you will sleep on. I guarantee it.

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Words By: Norwegian (Kyle Hall)

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