Various Artists – Ministry of Sound Clubbers Guide to Spring 2011

Just in case you’re ever unsure of the time of year, a few sure-fire ways to work out what season it is include looking at the weather, noting when the sun goes down, and checking Ministry of Sound’s weekly release schedule. The Clubbers Guide to Spring has just hit the shelves – which means it must be spring, though I sure as hell can’t work that out from the weather.

The latest edition is the standard Ministry fare, and with that come the usual positives and negatives: loads of big tunes and big names, but a sprinkling of utter rubbish as well. As with most Ministry mixes, you can’t help but wonder why they don’t condense the track-listings in favour of quality instead of quantity.

Disc one is mixed by Ministry stalwart Goodwill, which means we’re guaranteed an interesting and engaging listening experience. I can’t say I’m a massive fan of Example’s Changed the Way You Kiss Me and Calvin HarrisBounce, so the mix, for me, doesn’t come alive until we get to Ian Carey’s surging remix of All the Lights Chasing Colours. I don’t feel any great need to be listening to the remix of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain, given that she seems to be everywhere else at the moment, but the inclusion of the awesome Afrojack remix of The Wombats Techno Fan and Dirty South and Thomas Gold’s delicious vocal cut Alive make up for that.

Pnau’s recent album seems to have been tragically overlooked by the record-buying public, so it’s great to hear their fantastic Solid Ground on here, which gets pumped up a little courtesy of Tim Mason. I’m not sure if Adrian Lux’s Boy scales the same dizzy heights as Teenage Crime, but it’s still a respectable tune. There’s some filtered fun to be had with Ridney’s Always With You, and Goodwill’s collaboration with Carl Kennedy bounces along on a funky, disco-esque vibe. Sharam Jey’s percussive Let’s Get It On and a subtle Friendly Fires remix round off the mix in style.

Anna Lunoe’s mix is a little more wacky and out there, and despite its stylistic variety hangs together remarkably well. It chops and changes between bits of disco, house, electro, dub-step, pop and more, and makes for a damn fine party listen. Things kick off with the French house-referencing Untitled Vinyl from His Majesty Andre, which flows nicely into a wild Aston Shuffle remix of Sneaky Sound System’s We Love, the Canberra boys also turning in a solid remix of The Subs old-school house tribute Don’t Stop. Green Velvet have come up with another classic with the minimal textures and ever-so-cheeky lyrics of Millie Vanillie.

My vote for track of the compilation goes to the glowing Azari & III remix of Robyn’s Call Your Girlfriend. Things then go a bit psychedelic with Zombie Disco Squad’s tribal Pinky, Jon Giovanni’s warped disco cut Bamboo, and Lunoe’s own lush Voodoo. Swedish House Mafia don’t really do it for me, and I’ve got no idea where the musical merit lies in Crookers Springer, although I can overlook that in light of the amazing Redlight remix of Cee Lo’s I Want You and SBTRKT’s gorgeous Wildfire. Ending on a high, the mix wraps up in epic fashion with DJ Fresh’s Louder.

So while there’s no reinvention on the latest Clubbers Guide, it’s fair to say there’s enough to keep the Ministry fan base committed to spreading the commercial dance music gospel – at least until the new Guide / Annual /SuperMassiveEpicDanceFloorFillers compilation gets released.