WOOKIE – “Battle”

UK garagistes are the philosopher-kings of British dance, skewering the Top 10 with wordy musings on struggle, individuality, and the pursuit of the Good. Y Tribe’s gorgeous and gracious “Enough Is Enough” kicked off this meandering, compelling style, its halting train-of-thought lyrics saving it from slipping into the desk-calendar world of Gabrielle et al. Craig David, UK Garage’s superstar, is interesting mostly because of his irrepressible teenage logorrhea – he could happily sing about bacon and eggs, he told a recent interviewer, and you believed him. But David’s wide-open voice makes his songs sound all questing and metaphysical, even when they’re actually about shagging,

More life lessons, now, from Wookie, whose “Battle” styles him as the Lao Tzu of the genre, hymning the neccessity of combat and the futility of flight, via Lain’s oil-and-honey voice. “Battle” punches its lessons out in the intro with a one-note riff, then slips smoothwards for the hook-jewelled verses, always professional but disarmingly likeable with it. People who are actually out dancing to it might fill you in on its originality or otherwise, but at home this seems – that bedroom-minimal intro aside – musically up-to-date, though not stunning. As a song, though, it’s another step into sensitivity for UK Garage, a music whose progress from aspiration to assimilation is proving one of 2000’s most intriguing stories.