It's eight years to the day since Chase & Status unleashed their debut album on the world
On October 19th 2008, Chase & Status dropped their explosive debut album More Than A Lot and they haven't looked back since. In the eight years since they've gone from playing Manchester sweatboxes to headlining Global Gathering, SW4 and Reading & Leeds. Their subsequent albums No More Idols and Brand New Machine would both reach No.2 on the UK Albums Chart, but despite More Than A Lot reaching only 49 it's arguably their most famous work.
2008 was a weird time in Britain, the credit crunch of 2007 had morphed into a full blown recession, Gordon Brown was the de facto PM despite never winning an election (sound familiar?) while in London new mayor, Boris Johnson, was elected on a promise to end homelessness by 2012.
Outside of politics the top stories were the ongoing inquest into the death of Princess Diana and the first (and last) all-England Euro final between Man U and Chelsea.
The charts were almost as dire as the politics, with X-Factor winners and indie bands dominating, oh and Ministry released this over-due-for-a-revival banger - basically the music couldn't have been less appropriate for the times.
Then a little known act called Chase & Status released "Pieces" with up and coming UK rapper Plan B and all of a sudden the radio started playing the music you could previously only hear at nights like Ape at the Apollo and early Warehouse Projects.
When More Than A Lot followed, it was an angry, bassy assault to the ears, and for me it really kickstarted the UK's obsession with bass that'd last for the next half decade.
Listening back to it today it's interesting to see how Chase & Status managed to successfully merge drum & bass, dubstep and grime - three at the time under-appreciated homegrown genres - into a body of work that was indicative of the underground but accessible enough for radio.
While ostensible a drum & bass effort, "Eastern Jam" and "Running" showcased the duo's ability to produce dubstep and indeed became among the first dubstep tracks to properly crossover.
As someone who was around in Manchester in 2008, it was a rare thing to suddenly hear "Eastern Jam" the wobbly nightmare that had soundtracked so many house parties and disused warehouses suddenly dropped on prime time Radio One.
And while "Against All Odds" could never be called a grime track, it does feature one of the genre's biggest names, Kano, at a time when grime was still struggling to regain a footing after the first wave four years earlier. As Kano is back on tour with 5th album Made In The Manor, and the grime revival is the hottest news of 2016, it's interesting to revisit this often overlooked gem from his back catalogue.
The DnB efforts on the album are all strong, with tracks like "Take Me Away", "Is It Worth It" and "Streetlife" still retaining classic status. Perhaps the only track that doesn't really work for 2016 is "Smash TV" with its Guns N Roses sample. Although in their defence I'm sure Saul and Will never thought they'd see the day when a bloated Axl with a broken leg was sat on stage with a reunited (and presumably broke) Slash.
As a fan who rinsed the album when it first came back, it's hard to listen to it today without feeling nostalgic, but when you go beyond the hooks and really look at the context, it's an album that's as fitting for 2016 as it was for 2008.
Chase & Status will be at Alexandria Palace on 26th Nov and playing the after party at Ministry of Sound, ticket here.
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13 Oct 2016