Chase & Status - Brand New Machine (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
CHASE & Status have delivered a hit-and-miss album with Brand New Machine, an eclectic mix of influences that draw on everything from 90s dance to trip hop, hip hop and drum ‘n’ bass.
Saul Milton and Will Kennard deserve credit throughout for keeping things varied (a failing that drags down a lot of dance albums) but the ensuing enjoyment stems from individual taste. And if there are genres you’ve previously not enjoyed, then this album doesn’t bring anything new to them – rather it underlines that distaste.
Hence, Pressure (featuring Major Lazer is a flat, turgid affair that has some lousy beats, vocals and beat structures, while album opener Gun Metal Grey is a drab opener that features warped vocals and the sort of urban sound that almost always emerges as a turn-off.
Marginally better is International, which infuses proceedings with an aggressive, almost bangra-esque beat and at the very least moves you towards the dancefloor. But, again, there are reservations and the track does outstay its welcome.
Much better is the former single Count On Me, a ’90s dance throwback that feels as though Black Box never quite. It’s got a euphoric chorus, slick beats and a blistering vocal from Moko.
Ed Thomas stamps an element of soulful class all over the smooth grooving Blk & Blu, while there’s a sensual slice of trip hop featuring Elli Ingram on Heaven Knows.
Lost & Not Found is an upbeat, radio friendly slice of dance-infused drum ‘n’ bass, Like That brings back Moko to similarly stirring effect (but with a more contemporary beat structure) and Nile Rodgers and Abigail Wyles contribute to the out-and-out album highlight, What Is Right, which boasts genuinely classy production values and a deliciously seductive set of vocals that bear favourable comparison with the likes of Morcheeba and Kosheen.
And yet still there remain duds littered throughout. The urban likes of Machine Gun (featuring Pusha T) and Gangsta Boogie (a menacing hip hop overdose) threaten to undermine the good work that the album’s better moments achieve.
The overall feeling, therefore, is that Brand New Machine is an album that leaves you decidedly torn. It’s good at times, bad at others and probably one that’s worth picking out the tracks to download rather than splashing out on a whole album.
Download picks: Count On Me, Heaven Knows, Lost & Not Found, Like That, What Is Right