Greatest hits: album reviews

Album of the week: 'Brand New Machine' by Chase and Status

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 4:50pm

Brand New Machine
Chase and Status
4 stars

If you were looking for an act that embodies the rise in dance music's commercial fortunes, you could do worse than alight on Chase and Status. Saul Milton and Will Kennard began their career a decade ago, releasing dubstep-infused breakbeat music.

Ten years on, Chase and Status have a platinum album, 2010's No More Idols, and a tour of Britain's biggest venues. They also have a parallel career as pop producers for the likes of X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and Rihanna.

The duo have pitched their follow-up to No More Idols as a tribute to 1990s dance music. The most obvious influence is trip-hop, but there are homages to everything from UK garage to jungle to handbag house.

There's a sense of musical autobiography here that is touching. Milton and Kennard are too young to have experienced the early '90s hardcore scene firsthand, so the hardcore they mimic is the poppy, piano-heavy, hands-in-the-air strain rather than the darker, more experimental stuff.

Brand New Machine is better when the duo do more with their source material than just photocopy it. Not all of their attempts to repurpose the past work, in the unlikely event that you were wondering why no one attempted to meld trip-hop and hard rock before. But occasionally they come up with something genuinely inventive.

Alexis Petridis (The Guardian)