thu 05/12/2019

CD: Chase & Status - Brand New Machine | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Chase & Status - Brand New Machine

CD: Chase & Status - Brand New Machine

Drum 'n' bass pop stars flash new purpose alongside chart-aimed fizz-bombs

Chase & Status: smile when your art is breakbeats

“How does drum’n’bass fare when taken out from the underground?” asked Joe Muggs on Monday on theartsdesk, reviewing the new Sub Focus album. He went on to refer to “a fizzy youth-friendly strain of the genre” and “rictus grin euphoria”, making further reference to Jaegerbombs and “stadium pop”. It’s all a long way, he concluded, from the “dark, strange, spontaneous creativity” of the scene’s origins. He’s right.

Candied bass-pop has busted the charts wide open and, riding these changes, surfing the wave, are Chase & Status. They began as furious junglists on labels such as the reliably evil Renegade Hardware and, before you know it, were veering into rock vocals, contributing tracks to Rihanna albums, and co-producing a number one hit for Rita Ora. Given the bankability of such ventures, their third album was liable to be more of the same but, no, they’ve swerved, most enjoyably, into the shadowlands.

OK, that’s an exaggeration. Brand New Machine is hardly twisted sickery of the Two Fingers variety. There’s still plenty of big pop such as the bludgeoning “Alive” and Nile Rodgers-featuring trip hop soul of “What Is Right”, as well as the duo’s propensity for updating the chords and feel of classic retro rave on “Count On Me”. What draws the attention are other numbers. The ragga stylings of “International” and the excellent, spooked 4/4 throb of “Pressure”, the latter featuring Major Lazer, are welcome, while “Blk & Blu” has an R&B flavour, an understated cool in line with the current vogue for deep house. By the time the listener reaches the "Dominator" dubstep and snarled hip hop of "Machine Gun" and the moody electro-rocker “Heaven Knows” there’s a sense that this is a band exploring their boundaries, emanating a new maturity.

Perhaps Saul Milton & Will Kennard - Chase and Status, respectively - felt the same and wondered if things were getting too serious. Two thirds of the way through the album they head back into the grande feel-the-rush-comin'-on frommage of “Lost & Not Found” and others. Nevertheless, alongside the junior party starters there’s enough “dark, strange, spontaneous creativity” here for fans of sturdier electronic fare - and, indeed, quality dance music in general - to get their teeth into.

Enjoy a hefty bite of retro rave euphoria with the video for "Count On Me"

This is a band exploring their boundaries, emanating a new maturity

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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