Who are Chase & Status? It’s not as ludicrous a question as one might think. With their third studio album now upon us, duo Saul Milton and Will Kennard are still frequently cast as jacks of all trades. Their skill lies not in compiling a cohesive album, but in intertwining disparate musical elements in one exciting record. Brand New Machine achieves exactly this.
After the remarkable success of 2010’s No More Idols, their latest release consciously hearkens for the ’90s era of ecstatic dance hits. The album’s highlight is ‘Count on Me’: an infectiously energetic foot-tapper, guaranteed to elevate you from a lethargic mood. ‘Blk & Blu’ will appeal to fans of house and garage, while ‘International’ will – when turned up loud – churn any decent sound-system into a dizzying buzz of electricity.
But what the duo have showcased on this album is their true versatility. Many music fans would duck for cover if they were presented with 18 tracks of unrelenting hyperactivity, but they need not, for Chase & Status do the slower stuff just as well. ‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘Like That’ provide refreshingly sombre interludes, like an avuncular teacher quelling the excited chatter of primary school pupils. Milton and Kennard are aware of their diverse audience, and play to this well.
One way in which the two have been especially bold is in eschewing big-name collaborators in favour of the right artists to complement each track. Whilst ‘End Credits’ and ‘Hypest Hype’ from No More Idols are stirring listens in their own right, they subconsciously allow their guest players (Plan B and Tempa T respectively) to dominate. On Brand New Machine, it seems as though each artist has been assiduously selected to suit the needs of the band. Whilst you may not have heard of Moko or Louis M^tters, it is their own relative anonymity which makes this album sound so original.
There may not be as many chart-friendly hits on this album as on its predecessor. When thinking of Chase & Status, one may think of them as the poorly-supported alternative to the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury 2013, or as the brains behind that song you always hear in nightclubs, without quite remembering the name to. (It’s ‘Blind Faith’, by the way.) But if you give this a listen, you might see this duo in a different light. Masters of variety, amalgamating different genres and infectious dance-floor tracks, Chase & Status are back with a bang.
Similar To: Sub Focus, Magnetic Man
MP3: ‘Count on Me’, ‘Blk & Blu’, ‘International’