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Album of the week: Stubborn Heart - Stubborn Heart LP

The debut album from London/Oxford duo Luca Santucci & Ben Fitzgerald aka Stubborn Heart exists somewhere between the descriptors: electronic, post-dubstep, R&B and soul. Its ripe plundering of sounds of each subgenre into its own idiosyncratic gel recalls frequently, the electronic soundscape explorations of experimental juggernauts Massive Attack.

Over the course of the album’s 10 songs, there are enough of the kind of sonic touches that crop up on Massive Attack’s latter discography (Mezzanine on). It’s an incorrigible comparison but it suggests the kind of palette we’re dealing with here.

‘Penetrate’ is slow and pulsating, echo-filled and downbeat. Beats and bass are matched with Luca Santucci’s quivering vocals on ‘Better Than This’. The post-dub of ‘Two Times A Maybe’ has those dystopian strains of their Bristol luminaries as does the growling, flailing synth line on ‘Head On’.

‘Interpol’ recalls the gritty spatial tones of Kode9 and Spaceape while ‘Blow’ has gentle two-step ambient influences and ‘Starting Block’ is a zeitgeist-fitting percussive electronic production. A gentle yearning falsetto and a shakey rainstick beat leads the charge on ‘Need Someone’, the single best track.