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Features da hits 'Bang On!', 'History Repeating' & 'Velvet Pants'. Now import only.
Since the Chemical Brothers explosion, new big-beat acts from the U.K. are greeted with skepticism, but Propellerheads are no copycats. Alex Gifford and Will White did the usual groundwork by releasing singles and EPs before giving up a full album. The groovy single "History Repeating," featuring '60s cabaret vocalist Shirley Bassey, plays slightly into the lounge revival of the late '90s but with a James Bond-esque style that grabs attention similar to Portishead's "Sour Times." The recurring spy film theme makes this a perfect soundtrack for Austin Powers's first rave--"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is actually a Bond remake. Propellerheads also slip in full-on "rock" jams ("Bang On!") and slick urban cut-ups reminiscent of De La Soul, who appear on "360° (Oh Yeah?)." Shifting tempos from laidback to lightning-fast with exceptional ease, Decksandrumsandrockandroll is a solid collection of funky, jazzy, hip-hop-influenced dance music that has earned its mainstream acceptance by delivering the goods. --Liisa LadouceurSee all Editorial Reviews
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A cheerful, sputtering radio sample opens the album, before leading into a gritty maze of electrobeats and percussion, interspersed with samples. It's heavy stuff, but still fun. Things reach their heaviest point near the end when jazz rhythms are mingled with deep vocal samples and some blisteringly raw electronic buzzes.
It gets more fun in the second song, "Velvet Pants," a vaguely jazzy song with the constant repetition, "He's got a nice body, he's wearing velvet pants... Send the first kid down, send the first kid down, and they played records."A more openly hip-hoppy sound enters with the pleasantly slackerish "360° (Oh Yeah?)", while "Winning Style" has a glitzier, faster tone.
The best songs of all are the ones with a distinctly James Bondian flair: "History Repeating" is a wonderfully overwrought lounge-dance song, with Shirley Bassey roaring that, "And I've seen it before/and I'll see it again/just little bits of history repeating!" Same with spy dance-track "Spybreak." But things reach their peak with "In Her Majesty's Secret Service," a ten minute opus that mingles majestic retro with big beat fun, complete with an orchestral brass climax.
If it sounds fun, that's because it is.
Kitschy electronica is one of the easiest kinds of music to mess up, especially if there's sampling going on. Give it a theme, and it's even harder. But the Propellerheads pull this incredibly engaging album with rare style and skill, pulling together spy flair with disparate musical styles -- who would pair funky dance beats with an epic brass section? Apparently they would -- and it works.
The Propellerheads veer wildly from one style to another, sometimes mingling styles. Rather than sounding messy and fragmented, they create densely-constructed, dancey songs. And they know just how often to repeat a sample, and where to place it, just to keep the beats and rhythms from seeming repetitive.
The Propellerheads have yet to create a follow-up to "Decksanddrumsandrockandroll" but this one is enough to keep fans raving. Wildly original, full of raw energy and lots of fun.
but as they make the heart race, they also listen pretty well. from the track 'black velvet pants' to the end, it's a great, jazz-infused ride featuring smaples from john barry and a vocal guest spot by 60s icon shirley bassey.
I've now listened to this CD about 20 times and I thoroughly enjoy it. Some of the songs provide excellent dance music. However, the humorous banter and the aforementioned "Microphones" track don't stand up to repeated listenings and I'm left with the urge to edit the disc. Alas, this is a minor complaint and some listeners may actually enjoy this stuff. All in all, this is an outstanding disc and I'll be looking forward to their next offering.