Thursday, 12 April 2012

Knife Party - 100% No Modern Talking E.P. [CD REVIEW]

Free to download dubstep offering from 2 of the guys out of Pendulum. These 4 tracks pave the way for their entry into a new musical genre - but there's not enough to call this a classic.

What's It All About Then?
This is the first offering from newly-formed Knife Party, created by Pendulum DJs Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen. The guys have moved away from drum and bass, slightly, and have now tried their hand at some dubstep and electro house. This EP is available for free if you sign up to their mailing list - a small price to pay for 4 great belting electronic tracks. The EP was released in December 2011 and can be downloaded from here -

So Is It Any Good?
+++ Big Bassy Tunes +++
Even though this is a slight diversion from their usual stuff, the guys from Pendulum were hardly going to have much difficulty creating some fresh electronic music. The tracks show the hallmarks of Pendulum, such as excellent use of carefully-chosen samples and catchy melodies.

Each track has a good feel to it - from Destroy Them With Lazers's snappy beat to Internet Friends' unsettling vocals, and message alerts. The tracks fit well together as an EP too - there is a bold and bassy flow to them that keeps your ears vibrating from start to finish. I find this EP to be a good introduction - and a positive hint at a full album to come.

+++ Welcome to Dubstep +++
The guys have clearly been reading up on their new music too - this is most definitely a dubstep offering : Bass "wub-wubs" around in that satisfying fashion. Samples swiftly pan  and choppily fade in and out - creating a very vibrant sound. Tempo and rhythms switch at the drop of a hat to keep things fresh throughout.

The track Internet Friends is showing off their electro house skillz too - and while the beat works well and the track is great, I can't help but be a bit freaked out by it. I worry that woman is going to pop up on Messenger and kill me. She freaks. Me. Out.

There are also some traces of their past laced in - the track Fire Hive in particular - with it's reggae melody and vocals that hark back to "Tarantula". The guys have always been great at sculpting clever beats and they certainly do not disappoint in the tracks on offer here - they blast out of your speakers in a similar way to Hold Your Colour (like a sonic cannonball aimed at your face, if you missed Pendulum's glorious debut).

--- Wow Factor ---
Strangely though, with all these things in its favour, the EP doesn't grab me in the way Pendulum's work did. It's not the new sound - I'm quite coming round to the dubstep genre when done right - and it's certainly not the quality, as this is a well produced work. They clearly can write dubstep and electro house songs well and their use of samples is, as always, spot on.

I think it's just that in 4 tracks - that are not put together to form a full album - the guys haven't got the time to go wild creatively. Each of Pendulum's albums was arranged to be paced for maximum listening impact - with glorious introductions, a wide variety of styles and influences, and contained both floor-filling anthems and awesome chillout tracks. You could just sit down and put the albums on and it was just welcoming, interesting music to listen to.

100% No Modern Talking is quite "samey" in that respect - each track is a few samples used to build up to a big climax and wub-wubby breakdown - and as such it doesn't quite appeal in the same way.

So watch this space - if and when Knife Party release a full album I wouldn't be surprised if I fall straight back in love with the Australian duo's offerings.

100% No Modern Talking is a great start - I think the guys have done well to move in a new direction and they have not disappointed.

Each track is a belting and slick affair - and the clever use of beats and samples just goes to cement Rob and Gareth's status as musical greats.

The main issue with the EP is that.... it's an EP! 
If they were able to create a full album, with a better range of styles and influences, ranging from D&B right through to electro and dubstep, then we would have a 100% Brilliant Modern Album. 

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