January 7, 2010

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Calvin Harris, Ready For the Weekend
Ultra Records, Oct. 6

One not-unpleasant surprise from late last year was this second LP from Scottish DJ Harris, who at all of 22 was widely expected to screw around with more electroclash, not put out such a mature yet appropriately skeezy album. One tune from this all-originals record that’s already done the club rounds in style is “Dance Wiv Me,” a smart, night-drive-through-town rap/house mutant featuring grime poster boy Dizzee Rascal in one of his more sedate turnouts, but there’s a lot more to this kid than anyone could have hoped. Once the screwing-around is out of his system at opening track “The Rain,” Harris successfully marries his beloved slashy-crashy electro with some jaw-dropping deep soul in the title track. Granted, that couldn’t have happened without a world-class disco-diva performance from Chaka Khan/Lionel Richie backup singer Mary Pearce, but Harris does have other (mainly ’80s-inspired) tricks up his sleeve, in the end submitting a set of tunes that avoid the too-slick attitude that makes people want to strangle house DJs — Harris’s boyish enthusiasm goes a long way, enough almost to make you forget all the phoned-in nonsense to which his irreversibly bored elders have subjected the punters for way too long now. AEWS