Chi-house legend and Harmonie Park founder Rick Wade makes his debut on Leeds’ very own Fina Records with the ‘Sweet Life’ EP. The EP brings Wade’s characteristically sunny, disco-tinged sound across three new cuts, backed with a Mr. Beatnick remix and a collaborative rework from Tom Taylor and Simon Morell.
The EP opens with ‘Sweet Life’, where sweeping violin melodies play out alongside acoustic guitar licks. Everything here is kept organic and natural and there’s a genuine sense of warmth to be discovered - a great way to open proceedings that Don’t Be Afraid contributor Mr. Beatnick contradicts slightly with his remix. In this treatment, ‘Sweet Life’ is primed more readily for the dance floor, with a heavier drum-track pushing through and echoes of a dubby synthline that creeps subtly to the surface.
Sweet Life (Mr. Beatnick Remix) - Rick Wade [FINA]
The flip side begins with another new and original Wade cut, ‘The Chateau’. The title of this particular track seems rather fitting; there’s a looping Afro-French vocal that carries its way over those by-now familiarly lazy drum patterns. This one’s got a massively summertime feel to it and it's easy to conjure up images of the hypothetical Chateau Wade makes mention of in the title, nestled somewhere on the Côte d'Azur, with the sun beating fiercely on its roof and the cool sea breeze blowing gently through its windows. Many elements of this track seem reminiscent of classic French house - think old Pepe Bradock, I:Cube or Trankilou.
Wade’s final offering on the EP is ‘Jazz Militia’, a track that switches the formula a little by brining a harder, more driven track that’s the most heavily dancefloor-centred tune on the record. Though the drums kick out with more ferocity and urgency than before, the tune isn’t without any of the analogue warmth and goodness found in both ‘Sweet Life’ and ‘The Chateau.’ It’s just that now Wade is determined to get feet shuffling, gently upping the tempo a notch.
Sweet Life EP - Rick Wade [FINA]
Finishing off the EP, and found only on the digital release, is a remix from label co-founder Simon Morell and Tom Taylor. The dubby twanging chords of the Mr Beatnick remix seem to make a return here; filters are put into good effect all over the place, whilst the percussion elements shuffle slightly more urgently around the track to give the version a more-uptempo feel.
'Sweet Life' EP is out very soon both digitally and on 12". You can grab the latter at Juno.