For those not familiar with Andy Caldwell's tremendous work of remixes and producing over the past 10 years, both solo and with the group Soulstice, the man defines funky electrohouse better than anyone currently. Somehow he's found those few years between the end of 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s and has perfected a fresh take on the disco/synth pop hybrid. Find Caldwell's masterpiece single of last year "The Waiting Game" and you will have found THE electro house track to die for.
But with his artist album Universal Truth, the opening track- with its obnoxious distorted guitars, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" synths and trashy vocals- will definitely make fans wonder if they've picked up the right album. The second track ("Pushin'") conveys the familiar Om house sound but again, not so much the flavor unique to Caldwell's work. But by "The Real," which showcases the producer's instantly infectious bass lines, it becomes apparent this is indeed the correct record.
"Warrior" is the first of Universal Truth's great tracks. with its kickin' bass melody held into place by the sentimental synth chords and Caldwell's subtle yet powerful breathy vocals seemingly floating in that space where Royksopp flies. "Don't you love me" is the best of the soulful tracks, vocalist Amma conjuring up images of Teena Marie and Gloria Estafen, while Lisa Shaw's wailing on the equally soulful title track is the best vocal performance on the album. And then there is "Miss U," the track that should be the anthem to this summer's wind down. It's drawn from the same life reflective river that The Beard remix of Kaskade's "Steppin' Out" drinks from. After hearing this gem sanctify the speakers, you'll be calling your parents and ex-lovers from the club bathroom, telling them how much you still love them in spite of everything you've done to them.
With the exception of the opening "Runaway," there are no bad songs on Universal Truth, although there are some just okay songs. "The Question" is an almost bland stab at the Sarah McLachlan piano ballad formula and "I Can't Wait" is a Latin-flavored acoustic number that almost goes places, but never where you hope. Still with all the mentioned exceptional tracks, this album will be one of note for a while.