After being given the go-ahead by the FA...
Jeremy Chick
19:40 23rd May 2005

three star

 

forever faithlessIt was a crazy time when dance music exploded into the mainstream. A youth culture-based musical movement that had seemed more at home in damp ‘n’ dirty garages and trespassed fields it had inhabited so far (for a good 15 years before it enjoyed any real power in the popular music charts). There were no major label deals, no mass-grossing compilations, no super clubs per se, and there certainly wasn’t the celebrity stigma attached to any of the early pioneers. Ibiza was something pure and spiritual, and instead of embracing the scene, the majority of this country feared the destructive qualities of this new culture that combined so succinctly with a new drug that put the fear of god into the moral majority.

But it’s that moment when the keyboards glide in unaccompanied, just after the fist-pumping drum beat /yelping call ’n’ response intro that greets you at the beginning of ‘Insomnia’ that you truly felt something was about to explode. In the mid-nineties along with Leftfield, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers, Faithless helped bring dance music firmly into the mainstream. They fused hi-octane synths borrowed from the Chicago dance scene with a myriad of different danceable styles, as seen on this greatest hits album, such as Dub-Reggae (‘Fatty Boo’), Hip-Hop (‘Salva Mea’), Samba (‘Miss U Less, See U More’) and Disco (‘Reasons {Saturday Night}’).

Faithless' fierce live reputation would always be the backbone of their career, and even though they never quite held onto the dance dominance their earlier material beckoned, they were never a band to fall completely off of the dance wagon. This greatest hits package has many inspirational moments, with the albums often invoking moments of nostalgia. But for something termed a 'greatest hits', anything outside of ‘Insomnia’ and ‘God Is A DJ’ seems more a miss than a hit. The future for Faithless is really anyone’s guess. After burning so brightly for so long they lost focus with their last album, and when you have a subject matter as compelling as the whole fiasco of Weapons Of Mass Destruction, and all you can muster in a song that tackles it with a slight whimper, you know that you have serious mojo problems. Perhaps this is a low end to a highly esteemed career, but they’ll always have the festivals!