Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Chase and Status: Brand New Machine.
Chase and Status: Brand New Machine.
Chase And Status perform at the Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands in August. Greetsia Tent
Chase And Status perform at the Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands in August. Greetsia Tent

Chase and Status: Brand New Machine

The British electronic duo straddle the chasm between fun and ferocity, no matter how many listeners they disturb.

Brand New Machine

(Universal)

⋆⋆⋆

Major players on the global club scene for almost a decade now, Saul “Chase” Milton and Will “Status” Kennard have also developed an enviable sideline providing beats for prominent pop stars, a wild departure from their original plan. The British duo emerged in 2003 as an underground drum ‘n’ bass act, a niche market at the time, but the ever-acquisitive pop world then mutated to accommodate them. Rihanna is their most celebrated regular customer, cherry-picking fresh Chase and Status backing tracks for several of her recent albums, as if ordering shoes from a favourite designer.

The band’s public profile is burgeoning now, too, with a first arena tour beginning later this month, and yet their third album remains admirably free of mass-market compromise. This becomes apparent during the opening track, Gun Metal Grey, a disturbingly growly, gloomy hip-hop dirge that will leave many listeners wondering if their CD or MP3 is somehow playing at the wrong speed.

A glance at the track listing reveals a huge array of guest stars – although perhaps the word “stars” is slightly misleading. Milton and Kennard refrained from reaching out to their higher-profile associates and have instead peppered the record with fresher singing talents. It’s a sensible move, as big names can imbalance such multi-vocalist albums, and there’s a pleasing sense here of performers giving their all rather than just returning a favour. Particularly successful are Ed Thomas’s soulful turn on the inventive two-step ballad Blk and Blu, and two epic orchestral trip-hop efforts: Like That, featuring Moko, and What is Right, sung by Abigail Wyles.

The latter track was the fruit of jam sessions with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, but is much moodier than his recent work with Daft Punk, and the bigger-name acts that do appear here tend to darken the mood. The New York rapper Pusha T chats menacingly over Machine Gun (which actually suggests an oppressively futuristic laser-cannon), while the more aptly named Pressure is an intense, unsettling collaboration with Major Lazer, the American producer Diplo’s dancehall project.

Brand New Machine is ambitiously, sometimes jarringly varied, rattling through heavy rock, jaunty reggae and even classic commercial dance – Deeper Devotion conjuring happy memories of Coldcut’s squelchy pop productions from the late 1990s. That innovative duo eventually abandoned the hit parade, but for the moment Chase and Status seem content to keep straddling the mighty chasm between fun and ferocity, no matter how many potential fans they disturb. Well, it works for Rihanna.

artslife@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An tenant in the Al Barsha area of Dubai has been sent a non-renewable contract by the landlord. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Dubai landlord refuses to pay back Rera fees after losing rent case

Keren Bobker helps a tenant who wants to know how to reclaim his RERA case fees and who has also been sent a contract with a “one-year nonrenewable” note.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 A customer looks at a large mock-up of videogame console Game Boy.  Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP Photo

Nintendo’s Game Boy at 25: hand-held legacy lives on

Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary Monday with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National