The Best of 1996-2008

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Synonymous with the burgeoning Ibiza house scene of the '90s, Nick Bracegridle, aka Chicane, has cleverly managed to carve out a 12-year career in a genre not usually associated with longevity. Featuring tracks from his four studio albums, The Best of 1996-2008 highlights his uncanny knack of turning established artists, rarely seen outside their comfort zone, into bona fide dance acts. So Clannad's Máire Brennan lends her soothing Celtic tones to the haunting trance of "Saltwater"; Bryan Adams, whose 1999 single "Cloud Number Nine" Chicane produced, returns the favor by guesting on the number one smash "Don't Give Up"; while serial comeback king Tom Jones provides his trademark powerful vocals on the pulsating "Stoned in Love." But undoubtedly, his best work comes without the aid of star names. The balearic rhythms of breakthrough track "Offshore" still sounds as gloriously anthemic as it did ten years ago; "Come Tomorrow" sounds like a classic Oasis single given a psychedelic dance-rock edge; while "No Ordinary Morning," is an epic piece of ambient chillout that would quite easily fit on Air's Moon Safari. Unlike many best-ofs, 1996-2008 also offers something for the longtime fans as well as the casual buyers. Two tracks appear from his unreleased album Easy to Assemble, the hypnotic "Locking Down" and the Dirty Vegas-esque "Love on the Run." But unfortunately, the two brand new tracks are the weakest things on here. The pointless "Bruised Water," which combines "Saltwater" with Natasha Bedingfield's "I Bruise Easily" misses the mash-up scene by about five years, while any Keane fans excited to see Tom Chaplin's name on the track listing will be disappointed to hear he only appears on a fairly pedestrian remix of the band's track "Bend and Break." But a slightly worrying recent lack of creativity aside, this is a varied and well-produced collection of songs that cements his reputation as one of dance music's most gifted talents.

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