Modestep live in a world of big dumb statements. I’d say they don’t write music; they write sounds to accompany blowing shit up in computer games. The lyrics – presumably there to signify the outfit’s status as a ‘real’ band – are little more than the binary emotions of a teenage boy blasting the shit out of terrorists. Opening track and lead single Show Me A Sign is a vague call to ’the ones who care’, and I’m guessing they mean the fans here, though they ain’t being too specific. Still, if you do care, ‘PUT YOUR FUCKING LIGHTS UP!’ BOOM! Enter the brostep! GagagagSQUUUEEEE! The next track tells us, astutely, that ‘tomorrow is another day’, although we can hazard a guess that it’s a day that’s gonna include farting bass drops and crap vocals.
Things look up (a bit) when the lads draft in some of grimes finest to lace the beats. Burn has the tones of D Double E and Footsie raising the aggression levels to something enjoyably visceral, whilst on Evolution Theory Jammin, Frisco and Jammer strive to map the link between old skool jungle, 2 step, grime and Modestep. I’ve gotta be honest, at this point I decided that if Modestep are the end point of 20 years of UK musical innovation, we’re well and truly fucked as a nation.
I don’t wanna review this as a sniffy critic. Music history is littered with dicks like me dismissing the likes of Black Sabbath the first time round, only to champion them 30 years too late… The trouble is, I’ve grown up listening to drum n bass, garage, grime and dubstep, and this album to me just sounds like so much identikit pop toss. It’s replaced the questing invention of the best of British rave with drops-by-numbers and meaningless songs for morons. Still, fair play, I’m not the target audience, and I’m guessing that there’s a horde of 14 year olds out there who’ll take a break from World of Warcraft long enough to acknowledge the smashing bass crunches, sci fi synths, and over blown concepts as heavy as fuck. And shit, why shouldn’t they? Still, I can’t go higher than a … 5/10