Release Date: Aug 25, 2017
Record label: Virgin EMI
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Jungle/Drum'n'Bass
London duo Chase and Status have long been a paradox. They thrash out meat-and-two-veg drum’n’bass and brostep for North Face-wearing teens, and have written for the likes of Rihanna, but also have enough cachet on the dance music scene to attract a variety of cross-genre collaborations on this fourth album. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it feels like at least three projects haphazardly packaged as a single unit. There’s lots of good stuff: the dancehall-flecked Big Man Skank and the contributions from grime heavyweight Kano, rising soul singer Tom Grennan and rap crew Section Boyz, to name but a few.
Subtlety and nuance rarely appear on dance producers Saul Milton and Will Kennard’s mood board. Their chief aim here appears to be to bludgeon the listener into submission, by awkwardly welding dated drum’n’bass backdrops on to songs; aping the Prodigy, as on the truly abysmal Slaves collaboration Control; or lazily rehashing their former glories on the bland Emeli Sandé single, Love Me More. Things improve considerably when the production and guest coalesce, typically when rappers are involved.
Chase & Status occupy a pretty unique position in the UK music scene. Arguably the biggest drum ’n' bass act this country has ever produced, with genuine links to (and credibility within) the underground, they are undeniably a pop act with chart ambitions and expectations. In the run-up to the release of ‘Tribe’ – their fourth album – Will Kennard and Saul Milton promised it would be “energetic and varied”, and there’s no denying this is case.