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Personality

Personality

Paul Rose is not a man known for having the warmest of personalities. Largely statuesque whilst DJing and a wealth of online moans and spats under his belt, his is a character that does not immediately scream "IT'S BIG LOLZ TIME GUYZ". For much of his career, his musical output has reflected the moody, sullen man behind the buttons. From the murky dubstep ponderings of 2008 debut A Mutual Antipathy to the pulsating, chrome-plated techno echoes on his stellar 2010 follow-up Triangulation, there's rarely been much cause for revellers to branch out beyond a bowed, bobbing head, with hands firmly set at waist level. Last year, however, saw a shift in direction with the trance-referencing laser-reacher that was 'Adrenalin', a shimmeringly euphoric track which could easily sit comfortably in sets by Armin van Buuren, Annie Mac or Ben UFO alike. Combined with tracks under his SCB alias such as the remarkable 'Loss', Mr Rose was starting to deliver some real 'hands in the air' moments.

It's this more ecstatic vision which underlies Scuba's third LP Personality, although if there's one theme which ties the record together over the course of its hour-long duration, it's that of retrospection. Scuba has been vocal in his vexation at how 'dubstep' culture has morphed in the past few years and, turning his back on the genre which arguably first nurtured him, has taken to foraging in the electronic scene of 20 years ago for inspiration. There are hints of techno dons Underworld on 'Gekko', a nod to Laurent Garnier on 'Underbelly', and avid jungle embraces on 'NE1BUTU' and the excellent 'Cognitive Dissonance' - an album highlight. 'If U Want' is a close cousin of 'Adrenalin' but perhaps even better, taking shape around similar murmured vocal samples and entrancing melodic undulation to conjure up another moment of elation.

The excerpt of sampled speech at the beginning of opening track 'Ignition Key' could only be made less cringey if the rest of the record lent it justification through sheer quality, but Personality doesn't quite do it. While there are some fine rewards to be found throughout, at times it begins to feel like 'Scuba by numbers', which for a producer of such talent is in no way a terrible thing, but causes areas of the album to drag somewhat. This is even before factoring in dreadful lead single 'The Hope'. Not a record that will disappoint as such, but nor is it one that will add a great deal of weight to Paul Rose's already substantial legacy.