Release Date: Oct 7, 2013
Record label: Casablanca
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Disclosure have nabbed praise (and critical kudos of a Mercury Prize nomination) this year, but for all that their debut album stands as a terrifically good first effort, it falls to another duo to deliver what feels like this year’s most consistent dance effort. Now on their third studio LP, Saul Milton and Will Kennard – aka Chase & Status – have always demonstrated a keen ear for bringing disparate elements together in one cohesive package. 2011’s platinum selling No More Idols saw them tripping deftly between the bleak, guitar-tinged plaintiffs of the Plan B featuring End Credits to the bass-heavy club-soul of Let You Go in a heartbeat.
Rocking jungle and drum'n'bass music in 2013 is almost quixotic, as the dubsteppy club kids love those deeper bass drops, but no one told Chase & Status. If the results remain as good as Brand New Machine, here's hoping they never do. Here, the British electronic dance duo mash-up the system with tried-and-true genres like the full-on ragga-house number "International" (cry it out like a dancehall MC with a heavy patois accent and you've already got the exotic power of the hook), while the cool and diminutive 2-step track, "Blk & Blu," finds Ed Thomas playing the role of Craig David while Chase & Status combine to form MJ Cole.
Chase And Status, now on their third album, are often acclaimed as the new Prodigy for their noisy rave sound and ability to slay even the most heavy metal of festivals. But whereas The Prodigy’s third album ‘The Fat Of The Land’ saw them conquer the globe with a pioneering mix of punk, hardcore and, er, Crispian Mills from Kula Shaker, ‘Brand New Machine’ sees Chase And Status retreat into dance music history. It’s not so much the promised “nod to the ’90s rave era” as a photocopy, from ‘Blk & Blu’’s two-step tribute to ‘Count On Me’’s piano riff.
If you were looking for an artist who embodies the rise in dance music's commercial fortunes, you could do worse than alight on Chase and Status. Saul Milton and Will Kennard began their career a decade ago, releasing a dubstep-infused take on what would once have been called nu-skool breaks. Theirs was not commercial music, and their ambitions were humble: to get their records played on Kiss FM's specialist shows and to sign to a label called Renegade Hardware.
It's an inaptly named third album for a drum'n'bass duo who have doggedly planted themselves at the blunter edge of British dance music, albeit with so much chart success that they went up against the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury this year. The only things that are new are some of the names – US rapper Knytro and London soul singer Moko among them – although the guest spots feel like utilitarian cogs in one big commercial machine. It's filled with meat-and-potatoes beats, which, despite their dangerous titles (Machine Gun, Wickedest Man) are more likely to make you check your watch than lose your head.