So here is the latest release by Faithless, pioneers of some of the most danceable music of the hedonistic nineties. What can they offer us in these troubled times?
To start with – passion, natural and traditional instrumentation fused with the trademark Faithless drum beat build ups to bassline line climaxes, and socially-conscious lyrics. However, the attention has gone to a more global awareness of issues than seen on previous cuts. Now the problems tackled are not just based around the everyday issues confronting nineties Britain (seen so expertly on the classic track ‘I Want My Family Back’), but on the state of play in these paranoid times (most prominently on the first single "Weapon of Mass Destruction"). This feeling of paranoia mixed with a touch of optimism is interspersed throughout the album; lyrically “…in these troubled times…”, through samples “everything will be alright tomorrow”, and sonically apocalyptic wooshes intersperse the tracks.
Don’t think everything is dark in the Faithless camp these days, though. There are still plenty of up-tempo numbers on this album. Maxi Jazz is still the lyrical master, and this album shows thankfully he is still on top form, while Sister Bliss still manages to mix almost effortlessly the melodies to the beats, creating frothy cocktails of sound.
The album simply flows; piano-led tracks into beats, spoken word into instrumental, crunching sounds into quiet. Just like the calm and the storm, or just like in these times – the fine blurring between war and peace. There is a lot of questioning here of human values, soul searching – "what about love?" being probably the most telling refrain on this album, and a suitable indication of where this group are at circa the middle of the Noughties.
So, from dance act, through chart-placing hit merchants to arena filling festival gods, where can we place this latest incarnation? They’re still making music for your feet to move to, while your head ponders over the words and their connotations. So in other words, Faithless are still Faithless. Just a little bit more so.