Chicane - Somersault
This one’s hard work. Chicane’s first album in four years (if we count 2003’s aborted ‘Easy to Assemble’ – the victim of internet leaks and ultimately never released officially as everyone who wanted it grabbed a copy for free) sees a distinct change from the chilled out synths of yore in favour of a rockier, more song-orientated approach. This is a real shame and those who were hoping for a more house-y, even euphoric sound will be disappointed. There is nothing this time around much like ‘Offshore’ or ‘Saltwater’. Instead, this is a stripped down affair; ten songs, eight of them straight ahead pop and two, frankly, rather tedious atmospheric washes. The second of these, closer ‘Time of Your Life’ sees the album snooze to a close.
Seeing as Nick Bracegirdle, Chicane main man, has opted for this change, the album should really be judged on the songs first and foremost. Opener ‘Stoned in Love’ features Tom Jones on vocals and it’s okay, a catchy bit of stomping house. But it’s all downhill after that. ‘Come Tomorrow’ is leaden, indie rock with Madchester beats. ‘Spirit’ features Jewel, of all people but after her presence raises interest the track is just dull. Nothing takes off, nowhere does a groove lock and take you with it. All in all, Jones apart, the vocalists are whiny and second rate. Lacking atmosphere, song-writing and performance, ‘Somersault’ is a strangely hollow experience.