Chase and Status - No More Idols Album Review
New Chase & Status album? Yes please. Let's unlock some drum n' bass flavours. Throw in a little hip-hop. Top the tuneage up with a lick of dubstep sounds, and then you've got yourself a recipe for sweaty club heaven, right?
Wrong. Well, maybe, but No More Idols will be causing C&S' usual punters to remove their baseball caps and give that grade two a good old scratch, 'cos this time, Enigma in Corby is going bye bye. In some ways the duo - that's Saul 'Chase' Milton and Will 'Status' Kennard if you've been hibernating - have followed the successful model of their debut, 2008's More Than Alot. There by enlisting the help of their possified mates in helping out on vocals with Plan B and Kano doing the honours they slid from their d n' b roots smoothly into the mainstream. This time is round however expectations are elevated, and they have ambitions to match, a wider perspective reflected in an expanded line up of collaborators, with the likes of Cee-Lo Green, Tinie Tempah, Dizzee and even cherubic indie gloomsters White Lies all adding to a more cosmopolitan feel.
Lots of guests? Big deal I hear you say. But the real difference is that mindful of the 'Global superstars' tag which they've earned in part through their live reputation, Milton and Kennard have created a sound designed to blast out of arena PA systems, one that they clearly believe will help transform them into pristine icons of modern 'Dance rock'.
The problem here is that 'Dance rock' almost always means The Prodigy in one way or another, and the duo's new found love of guitars means that roughly two thirds of No More Idols chugs derivatively in comparison to 'Take Me To The Hospital', or 'Breathe'. Even more worryingly, what I presume was a temporary lapse in security protocols meant Brighton's tedious Pendulum copyists Sub Focus snuck into the studio to toss off the knuckle draggingly dull Flashing Lights. The biggest let down however comes ironically from those with the biggest reps: Cee-Lo spends Brixton Briefcase mewling un-soulfully, whilst we say shame on you Dizzee for phoning in your expletive heavy contribution to Heavy.
All very confusing - clubbers hanging out next to tattooed geezers dressed all in black with goatee beards both getting off on the same stuff - but just the index finger heads for the 'skip' button, along comes a silver lining or two. Tinie Tempah's in-your-face rhymes and the old skool hip hop breaks and scratch licks of Hitz prove just what can be done with a little commitment, Hocus Pocus is like a slice of classic retro jungle that proves a match for anything - the rightly worshipped - Moving Shadow label ever released.
Being rational, those two might be good, but hardly what you might call groundbreaking. That's left to our favourite miserableists White Lies, courtesy of the impressively lo-fi but typically (For them) bombastic thrills of Embrace, whilst Brummie bawler Claire Maguire struts her best diva stuff on the understated Midnight Caller. Sheesh. It's this emergence of what Radio 2 would call proper songs which may vex Chase & Status 'ardkore nutters, and even though End Credits (with Plan B) and Time (with Delilah) feature the use of an amen break or two, the words 'Maturity' and 'Asda Appeal' will surely have been scribbled down on the doodle pad of their label execs when they first gave No More Idols its first go round.
The suits will be excited; they know it's a numbers game, and despite the fact that their new product is going to ostracise an old skooler or two, the net effect is going to be mucho upside and 'Unit shifting' by the ton. No More Idols may be in some places confused, but the consequences for its creators are unlikely to be dissappointing.