Faithless: To All New Arrivals & The Dance

Last night I listened through the last 2 Faithless albums that had completely escaped me: To All New Arrivals (2006) and The Dance (2010)

To All New Arrivals  The Dance

If you were ever into this electronica/jazz/dance/house mix of voices from an equally diverse and interesting cast of musicians, you will know that they "already had" their great heyday with Reverence (1996) and Sunday 8pm (1999), though they’ve put out steady one-hit wonders every few years (remember Muhammed Ali) since then. To my mind Outrospective (2001) was their last great album, with No Roots (2004) being very indecisive and of the groups’ main members it was nobody’s child. It could have to do with the seemingly intimate though in actuality remote and alien War on Terror, in any case, I listened to the words but I couldn’t feel them anywhere in the songs.

And that, to me, is the Faithless hallmark: That their lyrics are real, somehow, grounded by ambient samples and mixing, and not superficial songs or the choice of words of a teenage wet dream. It’s regular people describing events and subjects important to them by way of invitation rather than imposing. Speaking to my heart, and not by way of my mind.

Anyway, read more about old stuff in my 2001 blog post: reviewing the faithless new album ‘outrospective’. Of course, they can always come back to the spotlight if they so choose.

To All New Arrivals is my favourite of the two "new" albums, sporting the warm sounds and great-heartedness that is so special to Faithless, with funny recordings of Rollo’s toddler playing in the studio. The Dance features a lot of guest artists, and sounds like a retro-dance album (kind of explains the album title), but fails to provide a coherent sound picture. Instead it’s like the disorganized album of small pictures from all over the place that is put together; but not without reminiscing about Faithless’ origins in the Reverence album. Both are good quality albums and well worth a listen.

I can’t wait to hear more of them and I always look forward to new adventures as well as quiet conversations with these guys. Keep up the great work!

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