London drum ‘n’ bass duo Chase & Status have, for a long time, had their focus split between chart success and their club roots. Their last album ‘Brand New Machine’ offered little in the way of progression from their highly-acclaimed 2011 album ‘No More Idols’. Indeed their preference for hip-hop and a rapped vocal has brought them great success with their most popular collaborations. However, ‘Tribe’ sees them stretch themselves thin and struggle to hold onto any sort of identity.
The dancehall-cum-drum ‘n’ bass opener, ‘Big Man Skank’, is a suitable intro for a fourth album which hops freely between genres and tempos. Whereas ‘Dubplate Original’ could well be a Kano exclusive; the production is not necessarily recognisable as the London duo. This comes before they effectively recreate Emeli Sandé’s No. 2 hit ‘Heaven’ with the singer herself contributing her vocal to leave us in no doubt.
In all honesty, the better tracks here tend to be those without a collaborator; Tribes, Tribute and Crawling stand out.
From here there are moments of brilliance and others which will fade in the memory. ‘Reload’ falls into the latter, with Craig David offering an uninspired garage vocal on top of a lacklustre backing of inconsistent rhythm. Rising star Tom Grennan restores faith with his soulful tones accompanying a break-filled production akin to 2011’s ‘End Credits’. Does Grennan have the same effect as Plan B? I’d say so, but it’s a matter of taste in terms of whose vocal you prefer.
In all honesty, the better tracks here tend to be those without a collaborator; Tribes, Tribute and Crawling stand out. The exception is ‘Real No More’ featuring SHY FX and Kiko Bun – a reggae-infused summertime anthem. As the album draws to a close it’s apparent this isn’t a case of best saved until last. The collaborations with Blossoms and Slaves are regrettably underwhelming. Fans of The Prodigy might cringe upon hearing ‘Control’ featuring the latter duo.
It has its moments, but ‘Tribe’ feels unfocused and lacking in defined purpose.
Too much filler, not enough killer.
Less memorable collabs than previous albums.
The tracks with collaborators shine through.
|1. Big Man Skank (feat. Mr Vegas)|
|2. Dubplate Original (feat. Kano)|
|3. Love Me More (feat. Emeli Sandé)|
|4. Step Away (feat. MC Singing Fats)|
|5. Reload (feat. Craig David)|
|6. All Goes Wrong (feat. Tom Grennan)|
|8. NRG (feat. Novelist)|
|9. Real No More (SHY FX and Kiko Bun)|
|10. Don’t Stop (feat. Bugzy Malone)|
|13. Know About We (feat. Deepee, Littlez, Knine, Sleeks, Inch and Swift)|
|14. Nervous (feat. Rage)|
|15. This Moment (feat. Blossoms)|
|16. Control (feat. Slaves)|
|17. Know Your Name (feat. Seinabo Sey)|