Monday, 17 November 2008

Chase and Status - More Than A Lot (Ram 2008)

Chase and Status are a London-based drum’n’bass crew with eyes firmly on their crossover potential, which is why we find them with an album that seems to have something for everybody. They’ve worked with Capleton and Top Cat and have threatened to take over in the past. On this, their debut album, they bring everything they’ve got to the table. Which is good because they’re talented producers and individual songs have been setting the charts and the airwaves alight, but ultimately, this is a collection of songs, a compilation with no common thread, no linking strand, no journey for the listener. Every style is thrown into the pot, successful or not, and what we’re left with is an inconclusive piece of work that doesn’t fully showcase their potential. Whether they are funking things up with the break-heavy ‘Music Club’ or getting Kano laying his decadent but gritty flow over a synergetic grime-beat, they are meticulous in producing every aspect of the song. It’s just it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t mesh together as a collection, as a coherent body of work that takes you on a voyage from the moment you press play to the big finale and climax. Instead, they’re more content to say, ‘Mmmm, let’s do an emo-drum’n’bass track’, or ‘let’s do some Eastern dubstep’. What next what next? Some Gregorian chanting over country banjos and gabba house beats? Who knows? Whatever whim is theirs to take shall surely be taken. And the dance scene has been going nuts for them. Individually the tracks stand up and Plan B’s emotive ‘Pieces’ has crossover success stamped in its core, while ‘Eastern Jam’ is a grimey dub-heavy piece of filth, and ‘Hurt You’ is breakneck dnb at its best. So yes, when you hear a song out of context of the others, you like it, but as one body of work, it doesn’t stand up. It has the ambition but not the vision to match it. ‘More Than A Lot’ should have been more than enough. It’s sad to see a versatile piece of work not meshing like this one, but alas it’s true, which is funny because normally you want a varied dnb album or a versatile dance album, and Chase and Status have tried to broach all genres. In the process though, we’re left with a frenetic sprawling mess of good songs that belong on compilations and individual pieces of wax.


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