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Decksandrumsandrockandroll

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Album Review

Really, the title says it all — Decksanddrumsandrockandroll is about as close to rock & roll as big-beat techno is going to get. Taking their cue from the Chemical Brothers, the Bath-based duo Propellerheads offer a set of pummeling, ultra-loud beats that may dabble in funk, house, hip-hop, soul, and rap, but which all come out sounding as aggressive as rock. Not that there's anything wrong with that — at its best, big beat is as invigorating as any other music — but Propellerheads don't have the finesse, innovation, or style of the Chemical Brothers, the leading proponents of big beat. When they shake the beat up, whether on the wah-wah-drenched "Velvet Pants" or the pair of John Barry/James Bond tributes (a reworking of their cover of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "History Repeating"), it sounds like a tactical move, since they know they can't spend the entire album on thundering dance cuts like "Bang On!" and "Take California." That said, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll remains a strong big beat album, even if it ultimately doesn't reveal anything new, because the duo knows how to craft a hard-hitting, infectious rhythm track. And while that doesn't make them the next Chemical Brothers, it does make them the best in this style since the Chemicals.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Bath, Somerset, England

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Proponents of the much-maligned big-beat style of dance music (i.e. the Chemical Brothers), the Propellerheads — keyboardist/bassist/DJ Alex Gifford and drummer/DJ Will White — sprang out of Bath, England in 1996 to achieve almost overnight success in the U.K. with their brand of unabashed party techno, which combines strains of hip-hop, acid house, jazz-funk, and spy-film soundtracks. Gifford began his career as a studio musician, playing keyboards for Van Morrison and saxophone for...
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Decksandrumsandrockandroll, Propellerheads
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