Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Dubstep
The regional lines have been blurring lately with dubstep music. It used to be that you could listen to a track and identify its geographic origins with the precision of a GPS system. Certain scenes gave rise to certain sounds, but those sounds have finally begun to transcend geographic boundaries over the last couple of years. But there is one particular sound that seems to be entirely unique to UK tastes, and it’s hard to imagine it breaking in North America, despite its being embraced by the mighty Interscope records.
Dubstep is a form of electronic music that is seemingly in a constant state of internal discord, ravaged by dissent from people who believe that since its commercial breakthrough in the late ’00s it has since become a bastardised destruction of real or true dubstep, a genuinely innovative and very much UK derived sound. Of course, the other side to that argument is that commercial dubstep popularised by Skrillex, Flux Pavilion and Rusko et al is hugely successful, particularly in the very lucrative US market. Modestep are a London based quartet who make exactly the sort of massive jumped up, rock-influenced dubstep that has blinkered purists up in arms.
If Pendulum rule the teen-rave market, Modestep seem destined to reel in their little brothers and sisters. While the London brostep quartet probably envisage their debut album reaching an older, socially conscious crowd – witness Praying for Silence, which contains an excerpt from a news report on the London riots – the music's smash-'em-up dopeyness will speak loudest to 12-year-olds. The sleeve even has a cartoonish drawing of a giant robot trundling down a city street: an apt visual representation of the brain-compressing beats and screeching synths inside.
A combination of neck-snapping metal and brostep riffing was never likely to be a subtle beast, but Modestep’s debut album ‘Evolution Theory’ sets a new standard in block-headed beats. Whether you like it or not will probably depend on whether you consider The Prodigy to be a bit understated in their approach. Almost every sound here is precision-tooled for maximum obnoxious effect, from the precipitous bass drops on ‘Sunlight’ to the jagged guitar attack of ‘Freedom’.
Animated and unrelenting debut set from London electro-rock quartet. Al Fox 2013 The late 00s saw everyone – clued-up, layman or otherwise – form an opinion on dubstep. A genre turned gimmick, many said, replicated by everyone from Britney Spears to what’s left of the Sugababes. Such mainstream focus often heralds the winding-down of a genre, but Modestep are ready to test that theory.
Smartly anticipating blowback from dubstep purists, U.K. quartet Modestep readily put their true intentions on the record—both printed and musical. Brothers Josh and Tony Friend aren’t afraid to namecheck stadium titans from Michael Jackson to Pink Floyd as inspirations, nor are they loath to make those influences apparent on the widescreen Evolution Theory – a debut you can either sniffily dismiss as “rockstep” or view, more charitably, as a chilled-out Muse with an EDM makeover.