Faithless : Outrospective
A lifestyle accessory for those with no life and no style.
Listening to the thud of the same old Faithless disco cheese, I fall down, sobbing, to my knees, and say, “Lord, spare me, please, from
this mental unease”. Yes, crack open the dry ice and unpack the lasers, they’re back: those zillion-selling purveyors of Top Shop trance and Ikea soul. The original invisible band whose E-flavoured spirituality has become the sensible lo-cal background music of choice for a generation eager for a kwik-fix of instant karma with their weekly podium rave.
Nothing officially wrong with that, of course, though you should always be wary of people who seek to ascribe meaning to that which comes naturally, namely dancing. No-one likes being preached to, particularly on the dancefloor, which is why, say, Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx succeed where Faithless fall flat on their evangelical arse. In fairness, ‘Outrospective'[I] – please[/I] at least finds Faithless eschewing the excruciating ecclesiastical references of old (from the debut album ‘Reverence’ to high-on-life frontman Maxi Jazz’s assertion that ‘God Is A DJ’) which made them so loathsomely holier-than-thou.
Conversely, it’s Jazz’s Blairesque trendy vicar approach, coupled with Sister Bliss and Rollo’s innate understanding of what makes dance music work (killer riffs, predictable breakdowns – a formula evidently too lucrative to alter) that accounts for their mass appeal. But to equate success with quality would be wrong as would the belief that because Faithless can play Dave Pearce dance anthems live on real instruments to tens of thousands, it means that they’re good. Though not a terrible record, ‘Outrospective’ is boring, worthy and brimming with cliché. There’s much we’ve heard before, be it the epic nu-New Age swirl of ‘We Come 1’ and ‘Liontamer’, with their recycled euphoria and holiday brochure mysticism, or the Bridget Jones escapist slush of ‘One Step Too Far’, wept with appropriate pathos by Rollo’s sister Dido. And there are songs we’d rather not experience again, such as Jazz’s moist-eyed devotional ‘Muhammad Ali’ and the Pro Tools starter demo ‘Machines R Us’. On the plus side, ‘Not Enuff Love’ is a genuinely pretty ballad and, er, that’s it.
For all their specious rhetoric and moody posturing, Faithless remain an incredibly bland proposition. A lifestyle accessory for those with no life and no style.