Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Chicane - Thousand Mile Stare

Chicane has been responsible for some of the best dance anthems out there, namely Offshore, Saltwater and Don't Give Up.  After sixteen years in the business, 'Thousand Mile Stare' is the producer's fifth album but at this point things are beginning to run stale.

Following Poppiholla, a reworking of Sigur Ros's Hoppipolla that featured on last album 'Giants', the Icelandic band have clearly had a large influence on Chicane - right down to the track names.  He's attempted to meld his chilled electronica with the band's icy aesthetic, as if Ibiza has been caught in a new ice age.  Unfortunately, this fusion lacks the intricately layered synths of the former and the drama of the latter.  The use of glockenspiel and piano in opening track Hljop, with its slow build up, is very reminiscent of the band's work.  The presence of Vigri on vocals fortifies this, Vigri being another Icelandic band who recorded at Sigur Ros studio.

Elsewhere, this is standard affair for Chicane.  Many of the tracks share the same chord sequence, not only with each other but with tracks from past albums; likewise, melodically this is familiar territory.  Second track The Nothing Song is an obvious counterpart to Middledistancerunner from 'Giants', whilst the beat of Playing Fields is taken straight from No Ordinary Morning from 'Behind The Sun'.  Chicane relies too heavily on the same instrumentation and this album contains little of the glittering production fans are used to, which is disappointing.

That said, Chicane has still crafted an album of beautiful electronica.  There are some moments of pure magic - the drum entry in Windbreaks; the "you can have it all" build up of Solaruppras; the middle eastern chanting of Goldfish.  And with Going Deep Chicane does return to his Ibiza roots, the rap sounding all a bit Faithless but amongst the relaxed tunes, this sounds too jarring.  Flotsam and Jetsam meanwhile hearkens back to Offshore and his past glory days, despite its melodic hook sounding too similar to Where Do I Start.

An immensely talented producer, Chicane is almost incapable of creating a bad album.  Yet, unfortunately, 'Thousand Mile Stare' just doesn't quite hit his self-created high standards.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Windbreaks
* Solaruppras 
* Goldfish
* Flotsam and Jetsam

Listen: 'Thousand Mile Stare' is available now.