ALBUM: Chase & Status – No More Idols

Release Date: January 31st, 2011
Label: Vertigo/Mercury
Website: www.chaseandstatus.co.uk
MySpace: www.myspace.com/chaseandstatus

Rating:

Taking a cursory glance at the track listing of Chase & Status‘ second album, ‘No More Idols’, reveals a bewildering number of famous names, from up-and-coming stars to some of the biggest artists in hip-hop and pop. It’s an impressive list of collaborators that shows how much of an impact their first album, ‘More Than Alot’, must have had on C&S‘s reputation in the dance music scene. So, with such a wealth of talent willing to lend their services to ‘No More Idols’, you would expect a unique, professional and memorable album to come out of their efforts? Well, for the most part you’d be correct. The album delivers a tight but varied listening experience that will satisfy their fans, and no doubt convert many others to their sound.

‘No Problem’ is a robust opener, with some spiny synth complimenting the pounding beats, and ‘Blind Faith’, which is currently receiving a serious number of plays on MTV, is the most uplifting four minutes on the album. At the time of its release in August, ‘Let You Go’ was a big hit. The track swells and wanes for a few minutes, following a tried-and-tested dance music formula, until the second chorus builds to the first big drop of the album. It’s a key high point that makes ‘Let You Go’ one of the best songs here, even though Mali‘s singing is a little too intense, at times bordering on the comical.

Tinie Tempah injects a much needed dose of attitude on ‘Hitz’, which is followed by the machine-gun rap assault of Dizzee Rascal on ‘Heavy’. It’s one of the more memorable tracks on the album, with its hammering dubstep drum beat and police siren synth line. ‘Hocus Pocus’ is another stand-out moment as the album reaches the end of its dark, heavy section, before ‘Flashing Lights’ and ‘Embrace’ lightens the mood. There is an impressive amount of variety, from typical dance, to dubstep, to songs with more of a mainstream pop feel. The production is clean and crisp where it needs to be, rough and dirty where appropriate, and for the most part C&S hit the mark.

Of course, there are some weaker songs too. ‘Fool Yourself’ falls flat, turning into a drone long before it’s over, and ‘Brixton Briefcase’ is just lacking a spark, an edge that Cee Lo Green‘s voice should have made up for but doesn’t quite deliver on. Then there’s the strange inclusion of ‘Midnight Caller’, which just doesn’t fit the atmosphere the album has created at all. It’s just weird that it’s here.

But that’s enough about that. Anyone who has been looking into buying this album probably has one song in particular in mind, the one song that turned ‘No More Idols’ from a maybe-purchase into a must own, and it’s more than likely that this song is ‘End Credits’. The track deserves the hype it’s been getting since its inclusion on the Harry Brown soundtrack, with the British rapper and soul artist Plan B putting in a stellar vocal performance over the driving break beats and soothing guitar chords.

So, the verdict: ‘No More Idols’ is an album bristling with talent and variety, with something to offer most dance music fans. There are dull moments, but the better tracks truly shine through thanks to some high quality production and excellent song writing. Pick this one up.

Written by Grant Bailey