Prior to his debut long-player, Oi Oi Oi, I was never too impressed with the original productions of Alex Ridha (a.k.a. Boys Noize). His remix work for the likes of Bloc Party and Feist — adding maximal techno sensibility to “Banquet” and “My Moon My Man” — was great. But early singles lacked graspable melody, and with Justice defining the in-demand sound of squelching synth and caustic melodies, Boys Noize was shuffled down to the minor leagues. But Oi Oi Oi sounds like the manifesto of a man with a chip on his shoulder. Its driving beats and manic energy are ideal for the debauchery of the dance floor, but it’s stuffed full of enough melody, instrumental intricacies and songwriting progressions to demand scrutiny.
Oi Oi Oi is ripe with stunning production, utilizing instruments from distorted vocals, strings, multilayered synthesizer, and booming 4/4 drums. Opener “& Down” is Boys Noize’s most accessible track to date. A female voice commands you to dance over Ridha’s dark vocodered vocals and a whirlwind of churning buzz-saw synths. The start/stop tempo gives the track emotional highs and lows. “Oh!” ups the ante by forcing the dark vocoder to duel with a beastly, abrasive synth. Even when Ridha slows things a bit and turns the intensity down, he still devises an engaging listen. “Shine Shine” shifts focus to a driving bass line, ethereal electronics and heavily distorted vocals.
As the electronic “artist” album gains more and more steam and the marketplace offers a plethora of electro options, Oi Oi Oi was necessary for Ridha, and it may be the most pleasant surprise of the techno/electro year. Its highs rank with those of 2007 heavyweights Thomas Fehlmann, Ricardo Villalobos and The Field — which is no unappreciated feat.