Breakbeat Era


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Combining the hyperkinetic breakbeats and chilly electronic textures of drum'n'bass with actual song structures and interesting lyrics isn't a new idea anymore -- bands like Lamb, Baxter, and Solar Twins have done the same thing, and Everything But the Girl used drum'n'bass as an escape route from their downward spiral into wispy jazz-pop hell. But Breakbeat Era (singer Leonie Laws, DJ Die and drum'n'bass godfather Roni Size) differs from all of these in that this group comes to rock from drum'n'bass, not the other way around. They also have little time for Baxter's jazz trumpet, the Solar Twins' gauzy pop songs and EBTG's melodic hooks. Leonie Laws is not a tuneless singer, by any means, but her approach is more punk than pop, and the instrumental accompaniment is straight out of the "darkcore" subgenre of drum'n'bass, a style typified by minor chords and creepy, robotic basslines. Song titles like "Rancid," "Our Disease," and "Anti-Everything" -- all of which sound like they were nicked from first-wave punk albums -- give you an idea of what to expect. Highlights: "Bullitproof" and the brief but super funky "Max."

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