The D.O.T. – And That

The seeds for The D.O.T. were sown when Rob Harvey of The Music teamed up with Mike Skinner on Computers and Blues – Skinner’s final record under The Streets moniker. The pair have taken the well calculated decision to strike while the iron is still at least lukewarm but unfortunately, from the out of place Bloody Beetroots-esque hoovers that punctuate the otherwise straightforward groove of opener ‘And A Hero’, much of it is quite pedestrian fare.

Lead single ‘You Never Asked’ is ostensibly the record’s strongest pop track, but even then, while guest vocalist Clare Maguire slots in well alongside Harvey for the hook, the ubiquitous and normally excellent Danny Brown sounds out of place next to Skinner during the verses. ‘Goes Off’ and ‘Strong Skunk’ have potential as upbeat dance tracks, but neither really moves out of second gear, while the cringeworthy lyrics of ‘Like You Used To’, while obviously tongue in cheek, seem a misstep. Skinner, having drawn strength from borderline self-parody in the past, often simply sounds non-committal, as if the Xanax may finally be catching up with him, and the beats too often feel like poppy UK garage circa 2005. Things aren’t all bad though – the interesting ‘Weapon of Choice’ takes a few unexpected turns and combines some strong ideas, and ‘Shut Up And Keep Talking’ is a slice of bouncy pop containing some amusing observations of contemporary life.

Knowing the capabilities of the two brains behind the project, it does come as a disappointment, and it seems clear that neither had truly invested their full creative energy in the record. But while it’s unlikely to occupy positions on end of year best-of lists, the stylistic melting pot on And That is interesting at least, and there is enough chemistry between the pair to suggest promise in future collaborations.