The D.O.T. seem unlikely collaborators. The Streets’ Mike Skinner is best known for rapping tales of British estate life in the tones of a delinquent claiming that a pitbull has eaten his homework, while Rob Harvey made his name as the keening singer with risibly over-hyped indie-rockers The Music. The two have a history, however: Harvey featured on The Streets’ 2011 album Computers & Blues, and the pair released a not-uncharming Christmas single the year before that.
The best of And That makes a virtue of Skinner and Harvey’s incongruity, while the rest rather struggles to accommodate it. Opening track “And A Hero” is a promising start, a frail ’80s keyboard riff intermittently jarred by immense ’90s techno surges, over which the combination of Harvey’s parched croon and Skinner’s bovver-boy chorus establish The D.O.T. as a sort of Bash Street Phil Collins and Philip Bailey. The sweet-but-barbed “Like You Used To” and the appropriately claustrophobic and paranoid “Right Side Of Madness” also bring out the best in both.
When The D.O.T. force the issue, And That is disconcertingly hard work. “You Never Asked,” featuring vocal turns by Clare Maguire and Danny Brown, is a piled-up mess, the sonic equivalent of watching someone opening an over-filled crockery cabinet. “Goes Off” is rather too redolent of the sort of thing inexplicably played at deafening volume in London shoe shops. There’s enough that’s good here to prompt hope that there’s more where And That came from, however.