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Chase and Status – No More Idols

Chase and Status, No More Idols

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

CHASE and Status – aka Saul ‘Chase’ Milton and Will ‘Status’ Kennard – were at the cutting edge of the drum ‘n’ bass movement long before the likes of Pendulum found their wings, yet their debut album More Than Alot achieved only moderate success.

As with anything arts-based, however, a lot can be put down to timing, or the current zeitgeist. Hence, their sophomore LP No More Idols, might just be the LP to turn them massive simply by virtue of the fact that drum ‘n’ bass has never been more popular.

It’s perhaps all the more unfortunate, then, that No More Idols often struggles for consistency. It boasts excellent production values, a star-studded line up and is ambitious enough to genre cross with abandon.

But there are also moments that utterly depress, by virtue of heavy drum ‘n’ bass influences or collaborations that just don’t work. The overall result is therefore underwhelming.

At their best, though, Chase and Status are worthy of their mainstream position and can lay claim to several genre-busting successes.

End Credits, for example, features a stripped back offering and Plan B’s vocals, while being set (initially) to an acoustic backdrop and some strings. It’s almost cinematic and was, in fact, used on the soundtrack to Plan B (or Ben Drew)’s Harry Brown. Even the drum ‘n’ bass elements that eventually kick in work well, forcing you to toe tap your way along in appreciation.

Prior to that, on the album, Clare Maguire lends her vocals to its moodiest offering, Midnight Caller, a dusky blend of soulful vocals, stripped down beats and subtle synth arrangements that aspire to Massive Attack levels of atmosphere.
If you were to hear it out of context from the rest of the album, you may struggle to place it as a Chase and Status track – and that’s testament to their versatility (which is all too often in short supply across the rest of the LP).

Earlier on, another former single Blind Faith, features another of the album’s more memorable collaborations (with Liam Bailey) and more subdued beats. The R’n’B inflicted female backing vocal and euphoric synth arrangement is also pretty empowering, lending the track a crossover dance appeal that’s sure to take the duo through the clubbing year as one of its biggest names.

Hitz, meanwhile, drops the type of inflated hip hop beat that NWA may have been proud to call their own, complete with vocals from Tinie Tempa. It’s a heavy hitter that is actually pretty darn cool.

While Brixton Briefcase boasts a moody synth, provocative lyrics about “London burning as the beat goes on”, the odd police siren for backdrop effect and a typically entrancing vocal from Cee Lo Green. It’s another highlight.

Also worthy of mention among the positives, meanwhile, are the White Lies featuring Embrace, which could almost be taken from the soundtrack to Ben Affleck’s The Town, and Time, featuring a suitably late night slice of soul smooching from Delilah.

But while such moments are, indeed, notable… there are plenty that aren’t and drag the album into wretched territory.

Primary among these are Chase and Status’ collaboration with Dizzee Rascal, Heavy, which features an unsavoury mix of heavy drum ‘n’ bass and urban elements that had me reaching for the skip button.

Fire In Your Eyes, album opener No Problem, Flashing Lights and Fool Yourself also fall into the same kind of traps… incidences where the heavier elements of the album are played up and the quality plummets.

You can’t blame Chase and Status for indulging in their roots, or reaching out across genres to gain more street cred with higher profile collaborations (who isn’t doing that nowadays, after all), but it’s not, ironically, where their strengths would always seem to lie.

The overall result, therefore, is an album of mixed quality: great in places, ugly at others, average overall.

Download picks: Blind Faith, Midnight Caller, End Credits, Brixton Briefcase, Hitz, Time, Embrace

Track listing:

  1. No Problem
  2. Fire In Your Eyes feat Maverick Sabre
  3. Let You Go feat Mali
  4. Blind Faith feat Liam Bailey
  5. Fool Yourself feat Plan B & Rage
  6. Hypest Hype feat Tempa T
  7. Hitz feat Tinie Tempah
  8. Heavy ft Dizzee Rascal
  9. Brixton Briefcase ft Cee Lo Green
  10. Hocus Pocus
  11. Flashing Lights ft Sub Focus & Takura
  12. Embrace feat White Lies
  13. Time feat Delilah
  14. Midnight Caller feat Clare Maguire
  15. End Credits feat Plan B