Chase & Status

More Than a Lot

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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien

Hailed as the most exciting producers in the world today by Pharrell Williams, drum'n'bass duo Chase & Status finally step out from behind the mixing desk to release their debut album, More Than Alot, over a decade after they started DJing together at Manchester University. It may have been a long time coming, but the majority of its 13 tracks prove to be worth the wait, as like the genre's other big-hitters, Pendulum, the South London pair incorporate a wide array of influences into their skittering breakbeats and deep sub-basslines, to produce a hugely inventive and accessible album just as likely to appeal to pop and R&B fans as it is to drum‘n'bass aficionados. Any sell-out accusations from fans of their blistering 2006 EP The Druids should be nipped in the bud by the turbo-charged "Smash TV," a towering, menacing fusion of pounding jungle beats and speaker-blowing, warbling bass riffs which samples Guns ‘N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Pieces"; a frenetically-paced collaboration with Plan B, which combines the soulful melodies of his reinvention with the snarling and venomous Rage Against the Machine-inspired aggression of his debut to startling effect. But More Than Alot is just as thrilling when it ventures into genre-hopping territory. "Against All Odds" manages to make the Incredible Bongo Band's heavily sampled "Apache" sound fresh, thanks to grime MC Kano's tight rhymes and vocal snatches of blues singer Lou Rawls' Philly soul classic "Dead End Street"; "Eastern Jam," covered by Snoop Dogg, is a brooding slice of dubstep which cleverly blends Ismail Darbar & Shreya Ghoshal's Bollywood number "Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka" with unsettling but hypnotic industrial electro; while "Take You There" is a convincing attempt at blissful Balearic chillout featuring the soulful vocals of emerging R&B star McLean. Elsewhere, "Music Club" shows the duo don't take themselves too seriously thanks to a plummy-voiced, tongue-in-cheek account of how to create a club anthem set against a backdrop of the hipster jazz you'd usually associate with spy movie soundtracks, as does the tongue-in-cheek, self-aggrandizing "Foundation Skit," a brief ragga-fused shout-out to the original acid house scene, while their clever choice of samples continues on the dreamy vocal-led "Take Me Away" (Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation") and the retro synth pop-based "Running" (James Ingram & Michael McDonald's "Yah Mo B There"). A tour de force in exhilarating British dance music, More Than Alot more than lives up to Chase & Status' glowing superstar recommendations, and with a sense of invention not seen in the genre since the '90s glory days of Roni Size and Goldie, it's not hard to see why the likes of Rihanna and Jay-Z later came knocking.

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