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Faithless return at their best and most adventurous with their 2004 album 'No Roots'. Production duties are supplied by Rollo and Sister Bliss with lyrical duties by the pioneering MC Maxi Jazz. Guest vocals come from LSK and Dido, which gives the album a classic masterpiece status. The lead track is the very socially aware track 'Mass Destruction' which clashes together powerful downbeat lyrics with a pulsing yet infectious beat. When combined by Maxi and Sister Bliss, the resulting track is a completely unique creation that stays with you long after the track has finished.
After a decade as one of the world's most successful dance acts, Faithless's distinct sound has put them at risk of becoming dinosaurs. Thankfully No Roots doesn't rest on the laurels of former glory and delivers something quite special. Sister Bliss's shrill, semi-hard-house synth stabs are all but gone, replaced by less dated sounds and more thoughtful use of them. Tempos are lower and song structure plays a more valuable part, for No Roots is in fact only two gigantic, epic songs, with each track a progression on the previous one and clever segues leading into the next. The only song that doesn't fall into "Parts 1 & 2" is the lead single version of "Mass Destruction" tacked on the end; it's a funky, breaks-based tune with Maxi Jazz's trademark vocal (used sparingly throughout the album) over live bass and guitars.
Anyone who's seen Faithless live knows how they can jam around their back catalog, making medleys and breakdowns of epic proportions: No Roots is a studio realization of that. Highlighted by "I Want More," downbeat tunes build until their climax when an uptempo number will kick in. "Sweep" is simply a 909 drum and percussion loop with synth flourishes that drops into "Miss U Less, See U More," a classic house tune that closes part one of the album. Something other than a collection of hands-in-the-air floor-fillers and downbeat songs to chill out to, No Roots should be listened to in its entirety. It's a cohesive body of work that builds and dips in all the right places. --David Trueman
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There are no dance- or house-anthems on this disc (such as God is a DJ, or We Come One), so in that sense it's a slight change in direction. Instead, they've gone for consistency: you can play this right through and enjoy every track (a feature quite rare in albums, unless the artist is "Various").
The album has a "laid-back" feel rather than a dance or trance feel. The songs are arranged into two continuous mixes, creating a total effect that exceeds the sum of the parts: each track builds on the previous and sets the scene for the next. I like how the songs alternate between the two vocalists, creating a dialog. There are also some superb instrumental bridging passages - you never get bored listening to this album. Dido's brief performance is divine and is set perfectly in the title track, the start of a rich and captivating arrangement. I wish she and her brother would do more stuff together (another excellent collaboration is "One Step Too Far" on Outrospective).
The lyrics on this album are superb. We've almost come to expect banal lyrics in this genre of music, so it's refreshing to hear something that really adds to the music. You get the impression that the people writing this are intelligent and likeable - you want them in your living room.
This album has good staying power - I've been listening to it for a while, now, and haven't got tired of it. An easy five stars.
Open hearts, no strategies.
Decisions based upon faith and not fear.
People who live right now and right here.
I want the wisdom that wise men revere."
~I Want More - Part 2
No Roots is filled with lyrics rooted in truth and "I Want More - Part 2" is especially meaningful in that regard. While Sweep knocks you off your feet and leaves you a little dazed, Miss U Less, See U More is surprisingly refreshing. "How could I continue to be the sky without my earth." So romantic...
Filled with social commentary and stories, this music is beautiful and meaningful. The wisdom reaches the heart of the matter and is very palatable in a variety of musical styles.
"You will always be a friend to me
My love persists over land and sea, through centuries"
No Roots slips and slides in musical waves that branch out into wide-open spaces of sound and becomes hypnotizing. You are not sure where one song ends and one begins as the song morphs into "Swingers" as the energy increases and the pace grows ever more rapid. Truly quite fascinating but very intense leading you into a dreamy "Pastoral." You can hardly believe the same band is producing such a variety of moods and musical places. One minute they are rapping, the next floating in dreamy soundscapes of ultimate piano perfection and then delving into club moods. This album is a much more intense album than Outrospective but has some interesting lyrics I enjoyed.
~The Rebecca Review
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I don't know what was in my mind when i got this CD. Easily the worst thing in my collection.
Although some may think it's too politically involved, however art has always been a form of...Read more