Rae & Christian

If Rae & Christian were to be re-born as a dessert ingredient, they would almost certainly return as maple syrup. Smooth, rich and viscose; moreish if not irresistible. But since maple syrup has never been known to make great records (not in this universe, at least), we'll have to content ourselves with the real flesh and blood Rae & Christian, whose mellifluous beats you are presently listening to.

Mark Rae (beats, lyrics, ludicrous record collection) and Steve Christian (studio boffinery, production whizz, songwriter) may be unlikely-looking rhythm merchants (Bobby Womack once, unkindly, described them as looking like "fuckin' astrologers"), but sling any of their records near a dancefloor primed for action and dare anyone to resist moving their feet. These boys know how to cut a dancefloor rug.

As if you needed further confirmation of their talent, this CD demonstrates both their skills in putting together an aural journey par excellence as well as showing the influences that comprise the Rae & Christian sound. Thus acappellas (Only Child and Pharcyde) rest perfectly atop instrumentals as though they'd been made for each other, old tracks (Rick James' magnificent paean to the demon weed, 'Mary Jane') nestle next to new (R&C's fine mix of Faze Action's 'Samba').

In keeping with the Another Late Night ethos, the boys deliver an exclusive cover version of Parliament's 'Flashlight'. And all done as smoothly as a politician's election patter.

Rae & Christian have delivered a mix that is simultaneously dancefloor-friendly yet could still be consumed horizontally. Dancey and laidback, funky and easy-going. Crikey, it even ends with Jose Feliciano's psychedelic-flamenco take on 'California Dreaming', its wistful atmosphere patently well suited to a pair of lugubrious northerners with soul to spare. In fact, listening to this, you could almost make believe that Manchester was Fun Central, one long all-night party and, if you were to really lose a sense of perspective, never rained. Well, almost.

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