Drum and Bass for the Masses by Faith Massive (Review)

Unlike some bands that “drum and bass” is attached to, Faith Massive are all about the groove and the mood, as opposed to flashing the mad skillz.
Drum and Bass for the Masses - Faith Massive

I live in a college town and, during the school year, Friday nights beckon like the light at the end of the tunnel (if you’re a college student, you know what I mean). Like the sandhill cranes returning to their roosts, or the lemmings’ annual journey over the cliffs, college students descend on the main strip, standing in long lines to get into the local alcohol-dispensing establishments.

Now, most of these establishments are nothing special. Like most bars, they’re places for people drunk off their booties to go and hope against all hope that they might score some with a nice piece of tale. And if you’ve ever been to these places, you know that they’ve got their jukeboxes cranked loudly, booming out either Warrant (for the millionth godawful time) or the latest by Matchbox Ray and the Barenaked Third Eye. But there’s always that one cool bar, the one that actually has style and atmosphere, where people go to chill, rather than ogle.

This bar has a jukebox, too, but the music selection ranges from Stereolab and Björk to Underworld and DJ Shadow. And looking around, it’s easy to see why. It’s dimly lit, the faint tendrils of cigarettes slowly filtering through the air. People are actually talking to eachother, drinking expensive European beer or sipping from wineglasses. It’s obvious that this place has that late night European ethic going on, where it’s hip to square and most uncool to be the drunken guy stripping on top of the bar.

And while listening to Drum and Bass for the Masses, I wonder if this album shouldn’t be put in that club’s jukebox. Unlike some bands that “drum and bass” is attached to, Faith Massive are all about the groove and the mood, as opposed to flashing the mad skillz. While that means the music isn’t as experimental or “out there” as it could be, who cares when the mood sounds this good? Slow, sensual female voices whisper over undulating basslines and airy electronics. The beats don’t get too predictable, but aren’t the sort to make you wonder what the heck they were on when they programmed that particular sequence. A little sax here and there adds a nice jazzy vibe to the mix, but is left tastefully understated. And every once in awhile, the mood brightens a little bit, adding a little fresh and upbeat vibe to the generally relaxed album.

And while listening to it, I imagine I’m sitting across from a table in that mirky club, engaged in a conversation, her big, dark eyes fathomless pools in the dim light as our heads lean close together. She laughs huskily at my clever jokes and witticisms, and as we leave, we walk out hand in hand. And Faith Massive is the soundtrack.

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