Buy: Amazon ‘Skechbook’ was the debut release by the dance collective Echaskech. It mixed dance music grooves with strong soundtracks and beats in a way that was intelligent for the time, fusing strong melodic ideas with a foot-tapping sensibility. Exotic sounding vocals by a number of singers added to the mix, whilst rhythm guitars, bass and keyboards were mixed with electronic sound sources to achieve an organic, and integrated sound. The spoken word introduction of ‘Unsynchronised Swimming’ add some humour to its retro 50’s like sound, whilst ‘Long time coming’ is a slower, more brooding piece that uses unusual sounds to create a more abstract feeling. Opener ‘Cause and Effect’ is a suitable starting point for the album, with its slow synthesised opening, and ‘Multiples’ achieves a similar feel with a repetitive music background and a spoken word part that should not be played when the Vicar is around for tea. ‘Frequency Apogee’ sounds like the rebellious streak Chicane might have had before they sold albums by the truck-load, whilst ‘Pop-stars’ takes a look at people foisted upon the public by Simon Cowell. Although the album is now a few years old, and Echaskech has released a new album since then, this is still a good piece of work that can stand repeated listening. Rating: 7/10