Could DJ Shah’s latest be the best trance album of the year?
Normally I would review an album as a whole, pointing out some of the highlights and giving my overall opinion on it. This time though, I was strangely compelled to do an individual track synopsis. The album has 12 tracks, each with a Chill Mix and Club Mix, broken into 2 CDs (Chill and Dance). So let’s get on with the actual review then.
1. Sunny Tales
2. Change Your Mind (Feat. Kyler England)
3. Mediterranean Flower
4. Lost (Feat. Zara)
5. Spiritual Hideout
6. Heart Of The Sun (Feat. Cap & Stephanie Asscher)
7. Punta Galera
8. Your Name (Feat. Lorilee)
10. Talk to Me (Feat. Zara)
11. One More Day (Feat. Ingsha feat. Simon Binkenborn)
12. A Balearic Breakfast (Feat. Seis Cuerdas)
The opening track ‘Sunny Tales‘ eases the listener into the album with a slow start building the tempo up to a smooth pace, shaping into something incredible.
‘Change your mind‘ is an intensely passionate song. Well, this is the feeling you get when you listen to the Chill Mix for the first time, whilst its counterpart, the Club Mix, is a brilliant mix as the beats lend themselves perfectly to a high BPM mix. And this is something you will notice later on in the album, that while the Chill Mix are soothing to the senses, the beats are arranged so meticulously that the interwoven result of the Club Mix versions are just pure trance ecstasy.
‘Mediterranean Flower‘ is a surprisingly brilliant track, with guitar riffs so epic, they sound like they were done by Santana! Ok maybe I’m being overzealous but you’ll know what I mean when you hear the Chill mix for the first time.
Following that is probably one of the best tracks on the album: ‘Lost‘. The vocals provided by Zara Taylor are so carefully whispered spoken, she just sounds so innocently dreamy you just can’t help but fall in love with it. The Club Mix of this was featured on A State Of Trance which is where I got my first taste of this album.
‘Spiritual Hideout‘ serves as a sort of an intermediary in the album, reminding that vocals are not the highlight of this album. The highs and lows of this track may seem perfectly suited to the Club Mix, but the Chill Mix is just as equally entrancing.
‘Heart of the Sun‘ is a surprisingly charming duet with its perfectly pitched vocals, sounding a bit retro for some reason, but the beats keep the track in the present. This is one case where the song was just begging to be heard in Club Mix instead of Chill.
‘Punta Galera‘ is the real ‘Lounge’ track of this album. With its beautiful melodies your mind will almost be in a state of suspended oblivion. You just go with the flow and enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. Lucky for me, I was cruising down an empty highway during sunset the first time I heard this track!
‘Your Name‘ is a very interesting track because whenever I listen to it, for some reason I think it’s perfectly suited as an ending credit song for an ’80’s romantic movie. Yeah, you’ll get what I’m saying when you listen to its ‘Caribbean-esque’ melody. The Club mix almost seems like a tribute of the ‘classic’ song.
‘Catwalk‘ is probably the only track of the album I can’t say anything good about. After such a nice blend of tracks in the album, this track feels truly generic. Maybe I’m being too harsh on it as I want more vocals. But even the guitar solos didn’t make this track as great as the rest of the album.
Guess my complaints of non-vocal tracks end here. Bringing us out of the drag of the last track, ‘Talk To Me‘ is a refreshing number bringing back the album to its rightful greatness. This is also one of the tracks that just sounds better in the Club Mix version, not that Chill isn’t good by any means. This is also the one track that stuck in my mind for the longest time, it’s just too catchy. I’ll say this straight up that DJ Shah should get Zara for most of his vocal tracks, the two work great together.
‘One More Day‘ is the last vocal track on the album, which at first didn’t seem great. But as the track progresses and the heavy guitar solos in the background punctuate the attention grabbing vocals of Simon Binkenborn, you’ll be completely mesmerised.
Bringing it home is ‘A Balearic Breakfast‘, and what a way to end things. I was really blown away by this track. The Balearic guitars and the beats create an intensely euphoric atmosphere where the listener is transported into a dream world paradise. At least as long as your eyes are closed.
I really can’t seem to find any fault in the album, although ‘Catwalk’ maybe the chink in the shining armour. Both the Chill and Club mixes perfectly complement each other, with some tracks sounding better in one version or the other. Eventually, you have an album that you will thoroughly enjoy no matter where you are or what you’re doing.