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To All New Arrivals

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Album Review

Following their number one greatest-hits collection Forever Faithless from the previous year, Faithless released their fifth studio album, To All New Arrivals, at the end of 2006 while the former was still enjoying its extended run on the charts. The album title referred to the new babies in the families of bandmembers Rollo and Sister Bliss, but could have equally referred to the tracks, most of which feature collaborators including Harry Collier, Robert Smith from the Cure, Cat Power, and former member Dido on the track "Last This Day." There are three instrumentals, the repetitive, tinkling "Nate's Tune," the trance-like "I Hope," and the final track, "Emergency," which throws everything including the kitchen sink into a seven-minute soundscape.

Customer Reviews

You've come a long way, baby

Faithless's fifth studio album is a work completely of its time. Concerned with life, death, the inhuman race and what we will leave in our wake, it is less of a dancefloor monster and more of an early morning slice of introspection. Less energised, but all the more thought provoking for it, it is clearly the work of some individuals with some heavy things on their minds. Amazing what a couple of new babies about the house will do to an old raver. On the first track, Bombs, Harry Collier's vocals slide sinuously around Maxi Jazz's centrepiece, a lush but meaning-packed lyrical feast. On track 3, Music Matters, Jazz shares vocals with Cass Fox and the result is a summery affair, but again with the trademark don't-notice-and-they'll-still-matter lyrics. The instrumental Nate's Tune is vintage space-travelling Faithless, inhabiting a universe of their own and filling it with sound waves that could be nobody’s but theirs. Track 5, I Hope, begins with what seem to be the spoken hopes of a cross section of ordinary people. They’re unpolished and all the more powerful for it. Dido makes an unwelcome appearance for this reviewer on Last this Day, the 6th track on the album. Not that there’s anything wrong with her exactly, it’s just that anything she touches seems to crumble into quiet desperation that I instantly want to ignore. All that is forgotten by the time Kubb’s Harry Collier makes another guest appearance on the title track. To All New Arrivals entrées with a very proper Englishman intoning a list of the planet’s ills (In our world, malaria kills a child every 30 seconds; eleven million children die every year of malnutrition). Juxtaposed with Collier’s insinuating vocal chant the effect is mesmeric. Hope and Glory meanwhile is the refugee’s song of hope and despair. Maxi shares duties with guest vocalist One Eskimo. A good, solid track, but perhaps a familiar tread too? Hardly much of a criticism, however, when it’s followed by the deliciousness of Cat Power's almost-broke vocals on A Kind of Peace, slide mellow into four a.m. She’s permanently on the edge of not pulling off the quiet, slightly cracked delivery that nobody else could ever pull off. It’s quieter than a church before the crowds arrive, sings the Southern songstress. Get ya. The Man in You begins like it wandered in off a Morcheeba tracklist. A bit brassy, a bit Notting Hill, a bit off kilter with the rest, to tell the truth. If the rest of the album wants you to think in the wee hours, two tunes beg to differ. First is track 2, Spiders, Crocodiles & Kryptonite, sampling Robert Smith’s vocals from the sublime Cure track Lullaby. But the musical farrago of instrumentation and digitally mucked-about vocals that it’s bookended by is ineffective, confusing and, worst of all, hurting the rest of the album. Oops. A better bet would’ve been to just include Lullaby lock, stock. All is rescued in glorious fashion by the almost eight-minute long Emergency. Having kept us at home sweating into the wee hours over the state of the world we’re handing over to the younguns they’re determined it seems, to drag us out on the dancefloor anyway, knock us over the head with this forward-retro slab of funk and send us home sweating. Hardly any vocals, no message and no escape from offa the floor. Faithless have made a slower record than usual, but make no mistake: it’s a keeper.


Formed: 1995 in London, England

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A prime house-pop group and consistent club act, Faithless is at its core a duo of producers Rollo and Sister Bliss. Before the group officially came together in 1995, Rollo had produced a club hit ("Don't You Want Me" as Felix in 1992), plus an album for Kristine W. and remixes for the Pet Shop Boys, Björk, and Simply Red. Sister Bliss, a piano and violin prodigy from the age of five, converted to acid house in 1987, and quickly became one of the U.K.'s best house DJs, also recording several singles...
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To All New Arrivals, Faithless
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