"How the Hell do you possibly go about following 'Saw You For The First Time?" is what I opened with when I had a chat with Laurence Guy last week. Let's be clear, his LP on Church is now widely accepted as one of, if not the, best thing to be released last year. I'd go as far as saying that if it wasn't for Folamour doing his thing on Umami then there's not much that could come close to matching it.
For his first outing since this masterpiece then, we are treated to the 'All I See Is Her' EP, released on Japanese imprint Mule Musiq. The three tracks gracing this 12" were actually produced before the aforementioned LP came out and, as with all great music, the inspiration for each was drawn from the goings-on in Laurence's personal life at the time. As a result, we find ourselves with a release that is every bit as good as the LP, with the same tight production and signature sound, but this time just a touch more melancholy in tone, with a slightly darker, more emotive atmosphere throughout.
The A-side of the record is taken up by the title track, which is a song more than worthy of hogging a whole side of wax. The punchy, sharp kick that starts us off is soon contrasted by a soft, rolling piano sample that drifts us along with the help of some classy cymbal work that's straight from the jazz club. The two-minute mark sees the introduction of some breakbeat percussion that injects an extra bit of life whilst the emotive melodies are glued together by a stunning clarinet sample and choppy vocals.
Over on the B, 'Then Again, Maybe Not' starts in the same vein, with a wistful piano sample and a spattering of jazzy hi-hats and symbals. This time though, the track takes an upward swing much earlier, with the uptempo percussion hitting us sooner than before and a driving low end providing a nice dose of energy. The mood of the A remains, but a stark contrast comes in the form of some electronic elements perforating the raw instrumental samples along the way, whilst the vocal takes a more prominent stance, too. "Love is my life".
Finally, we have 'Belong', which is somewhat of a mix between the two previous tracks. The tempo is pulled back again and the mesmerising keys are reminiscent of the A, whilst the electronic theme we picked up on the B1 remains. A perfect symphony of Laurence's talents.
This isn't a record that you're picking up just to take to your next set. But, that's no bad thing - it's a blissful record that you slide out of it's sleeve on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy in full.
Still some copies left, folks - Juno, Deejay