Crooks, Crime & Corruption


Double LP version. Each plain, unprinted inner sleeve is wrapped by hand in custom-printed barricade tape created by London design studio Give Up Art, sealing in the discs and making each pressing unique. Horsepower Productions and their ever-present head honcho Benny Ill, revered in underground music circles as among the key early innovators of dubstep, return with their much-anticipated fourth album, Crooks, Crime & Corruption. An ambitious and varied work, it finds the group expanding their horizons and broadening their sound palette while maintaining the unparalleled production chops that first made them such a force in the scene. Their pioneering early singles sought to strip UK garage of its slickness, adopting a stripped-down, dubbed-out approach that emphasized roughness and powerful bass. This was music for real heads, not commercial dancefloors. When You Hold Me/Let's Dance launched the seminal Tempa label in 2000, and even the term "dubstep" was first popularized in a 2002 XLR8R cover story about Horsepower. Their 2002 debut album In Fine Style (TEMPA 001CD) stands as one of the finest documents to emerge from the UK underground, while To The Rescue (TEMPA 003CD), which followed in 2004, saw the group play a vital role in shaping the direction of the music they had made possible. Crooks, Crime & Corruption is certainly the most sonically varied and rhythmically diverse Horsepower album yet. If previous Horsepower records were defined in part by a commitment to darkness, then Crooks, Crime & Corruption sees a certain amount of light emerging through the cracks. Just check the summer BBQ vibes of "Bak 2 NY" or the balmy shuffle of "Kuriosity.'" At the other end of the spectrum lie the sticky weed paranoia and industrial clank of "Ruf Justice," all gunfire and sirens over punishing sub-bass. "Good Ole Dayz" and "Justify" -- originally released together as a 12" in 2011 (TEMPA 059EP) -- both appear here in new versions. "Good Ole Dayz" marries dubstep wobble with an explosion of color, while the decidedly psychedelic "Justify" (a collaboration with guitarist Harry Keyworth) falls somewhere between Hawaiian surf and Morricone Western. Immaculately constructed and immaculately realized, Crooks, Crime & Corruption draws from numerous facets of the UK underground and further afield for a compelling, wholly immersive journey. Features Orson on "GBU."