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3.3 out of 5 stars
Somersault
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
On a business trip to London in 2000, my father bought a copy of "Behind The Sun" as a souvenir for me. Having been raised to that point on an unlikely combination of family-friendly southern radio pop, German industrial, and Mike Oldfield, it took me months (literally) before I was able to appreciate Nick Bracegirdle's artistry. Eventually, though, "Behind the Sun" and "Far from the Maddening Crowds" earned permanent places in my personal list of the top-ten albums of all time -- even if I find something better eventually, these will stay on principle alone, to say nothing of their qualifications.

It's been seven years since Nick Bracegirdle put out a new album. In that time, I discovered a wide range of electronica to fill the void -- Jean-Michel Jarre, Orbital, Massive Attack, Rinocerose, Trance[]Control, Royksopp, Portal (local trance group from England), more Mike Oldfield -- and much of it is worthy of its own praise, but none of it was Chicane. I suppose it is for this reason that I'm dissapointed that "Somersault" is *also* not Chicane.

The album isn't *bad* -- I don't want to convey that by any means. Even at its Euro-trashiest, this album is listenable, and the second half of the album (Tracks 5-10) are better than 95% of the club tracks ever made. But after waiting for seven years to hear "Behind the Sun II" or something to that effect, the poppiness of this album leaves something to be desired. To be fair, my anticipation was based on the assumption that the never-ending stream of delays was due to Nick slaving away, Mozart-style, trying to compose an "album to end all electronica albums" -- but in reality, he was on tour almost the entire time.

Excepting tracks 4 and 10 (both of which are classic Brian Eno soundscapes that Nick does so well), the new album has continuous vocals and continuous dance beats, and my reaction to this is so: If I want to hear people talking, I can go outside, and if I want to hear dance beats, I can go to a club. The reason I love "Behind the Sun" and "Far from the Maddening Crowds" is because they are the antithesis of all that. They are sonic artistry, pure and simple.

Nick, I like your style and I don't want you to be Brian Eno, but I don't want to hear techno-pop either.

-- UPDATE 7/13/2009 --

Okay, I need to revisit this. I finally got a good pair of headphones, the kind with the silicone earplug that blocks out background noise, and the guy who sings on most of the tracks really isn't that bad. It's not the ideal kind of voice for music with lyrics, in my opinion, but I think a lot of the whiney sound actually comes from post-processing -- I think the producers muted the lower frequencies of the guy's voice so they wouldn't compete with the bass in the music.

That being said, I'm not often in the mood for electronic music with vocals, so I still look forward to Chicane's next instrumental album.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Got the new album and gave it a once through listen. Somehow I'm disappointed. I have been waiting a LONG time for something new from Chicane and this album sounds very europopy - not the ambient trance goodness of FFTMC or Behind the Sun. Don't know exactly what I was expecting. Perhaps it's me overapplying my expectations, and every artist has the right to expand their sound and experiment with new things. Perhaps that is where this album failed. Much of the aural territory of Somersault has been tread before by others, and their steps sounded better.

Downside - my copy arrived with some surface scratches on the disc and what appears to be a manufacturing defect about 1/2 way through the written portion of the disc. I didn't hear any problems in my end-to-end listen through it, but it upsets nonetheless. I mean, spend $25 on an import disc and now have to deal with possibly getting a replacement, what a pain in the...

As far as music goes, my favourite track is probably the last on the disc - "Time Of You're Life" (strange title) which is a purely ambient work and very reminiscent of "Now We are Free" from the Gladiator soundtrack. "Stoned in Love" is a stomping dance track, and "Come Tomorrow" kind of sounds like Chicane was going for another "Don't Give Up" but the vocalist here is not as strong. "Arizona pt1" is not as fluid as "pt 2" is from the "Love on the Run" cd singles, but it's still a good track. Didn't really like "Way I'm Feelin'" as it sounds like europop filler.

In summary, I did give this album a fair listen and of course will put it into the rotation going forward. But somehow this album just didn't GRAB me like Behind the Sun or FFTMC did. I was really hoping that this album would be what "Easy to Assemble" never was. I was truly excited when ETA was announced and the first singles got released. With "Somersault" I can't help but feel that the album is a but a pale reflection of past successes woefully pasted onto lackluster europop.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Unbelievable!!! I am lost for words. After producing 2 of the finest albums in the history of music what went wrong here? This album, as other reviewers have said, is nothing more than cheezy, souless garbage with no musical talent involved at all. 5 minutes on Fruity Loops software and I was able to create the exact same junk note for note, that is not 10 years of work!.

This truly is one of if not the worst albums I have ever heard or owned (and I own over 600). Nothing stands out from any one track, and track 2, well I have no idea what that is about but it is the worst track I have heard from anyone, ever!

At first I thought this album was a joke, but now I am left feeling this is Nick Bracegirdle's revenge on the world because several years ago his material for a 3rd album was stolen delaying this junk until now.

Honestly, I could not describe in enough detail how bad this album is. I can't remember a single track and rythm from any of the songs after hearing it several times and it is definately not because of the complexity of the music, it is because of its dullness and cheezyness. The vocals are terrible, euro poppy, and totally unnecessary.

What a dissapointment, stay well away, and if you have to have this album, although I would never normally encourage you do this - copy it off someone who wasted their money on it already! Before long this will be going for $9.99 not $30+. I feel so strongly about the total lack of musical talent on this album I had to write a review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I don't even know what to say. I am disappointed on so many levels.
First, "Easy to Assemble" never came to be. Heard his new label wanted it re-done. Then this? This is just a bunch of cheap electro pop songs.
The reason I bought it is for the song "Time of Your Life" of which they have a sample called Part II on his website. Well of course it is nothing at all like the sample is and so I'm out $25. This version of "Spirit", which was actually like-able for me on the "ETA" album, has been re-worked into a soul-less version to match all the other songs.
And way, way back when "ETA" was announced there was a sample of "Arizona Part I" on his website which was so much better than "Part II" and where did that go?
Where did Nick B go? Where did his thoughtful, haunting, melodies go? His cool beats? His layers of original music? Where did his music, that took you somewhere when you listened to it, go?
I guess if you are outside flipping burgers with your friends (as shown on the cover) is when your gonna listen to this, then it will be fine. It will blend in with everything else that's in your changer....unfortunately.
Thanks Chicane for sounding like everybody else... :(
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Everything about this ill-conceived project is sloppy. From the track listing errors ('Far Away From You' and 'Turning Corners') and mispelled words ('Time of You're Life' - WTF?), to the less than lackluster sound levels and indistinguishable euro-cheez pop filler tracks, Chicane has gone off the rails with 'Somersault' and landed flat on his face...

'Somersault' has no flow, direction or any semblance of cohesion. And, incidentally, what's with that atrocious photo which serves as the album cover? It's absolutely absurd and utterly beneath Chicane's album graphics which have come before. Seriously - a guy flipping burgers??? I get the 'joke' which coincides with the album title, but come on...

If the album wasn't labeled 'Chicane', I would find it very difficult to determine who the artist is (compared to previous works and stellar production values). This album sounds like something any 'bedroom DJ producer' could have hastily assembled... Sadly, my love affair with Chicane is over...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I'm not too impressed with this album. There are a few very enjoyable songs, but I have Behind the Sun as well and like that album much more. I did hear that Chicane was a little rushed while making Somersault, but it's still just not as good as I thought and hoped it would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2009
Format: Audio CD
A lot of people are expressing disappointment with this album - I am guessing most of them haven't heard "Easy to Assemble" (an album that seems to have sunk with barely a trace). If you had, you would not be surprised that Chicane is much more pop electronica now than the atmospheric stuff from the 1990's. And you would probably be much happier with Somersault, which is a much better album than the atrocious Easy to Assemble, that I could only ever bring myself to listen to once through. Somersault, on the other hand, I quite enjoy. By most standards its a good album that only pales when compared with what Chicane used to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I've been a long-time Chicane fan and this album is sadly a disappointment. I'm not against vocals on his tracks as evidenced by songs such as Autumn Tactics and Strong In Love, Saltwater and even Love on the Run, but the vocals on this album are truly subpar. I was really hoping for more instrumental tracks like Arizona and Time of Your Life. Even when categorized as Euro-pop, this album is album is mediocre. Save your money and download the two tracks mentioned above from iTunes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Are a few of the words which spring to mind after hearing this utter disappointment of an album... Chicane faithful hoping for the sonic glory of 'Far From the maddening Crowds' and 'Behind the Sun' will be outraged at this pop/rock/dance dross...

Nick, what happened?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Firstly, I will agree with many others when I say this is not what I expected when I picked up the new Chicane CD. Yes, it is more pop and less chill.

However, there is a little bit for everyone on this album, from the phenomenal "Stoned in Love" which will get you revving your engine or breaking a sweat on the dance floor, to the familiar chill of "Arizona".

If you expect Chicane to be a stagnant one trick pony, you will probably not like this album. On the other hand, if you respect his artistic brilliance, and want to hear how his sound evolves, you will be listening to Somersault over and over and over. I will also add that Jack Starks does a superb job complimenting the instrumental riffs and grooves of Somersault. And Tom Jones' contribution to "Stoned in Love" will keep you craving more for weeks.

I for one, already can not wait to see where Chicane brings us next.
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