The Dance is house music legends Faithless’s first album in 4 years. Their last album, 2006’s To All New Arrivals, was a polemic loaded record that boasted the group’s socio-political awareness. It seems with The Dance Faithless have decided to re-engage with their prior material, with tracks like ‘Not Going Home’ which attempt to recapture their past successes such as ‘God is a DJ’ and ‘We come One’. No doubt their best material, these older tracks have stood the test of time and canonised Faithless to legendary status among other 90s perennials such as the Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy.
Their formulaic melange of euphoric beats mixed with the mellow lyricism of Maxi Jazz is the basis of much of this record, with epitomised by tracks like ‘Tweak your Nipple’ and ‘Sun to Me’. New tracks but the same old trusted sound. What is strange is that I’m sure the group know how to create a modern sound. Instead what is on show is a reluctance to move on from the genre they defined by what seems like a fear to lose their mantle as dance legends. What is also telling is the remarkable lack of hype around the release of this record. It’s peculiar that, for their first album in four years, The Dance has been released solely on iTunes for digital sales and in Tesco store in their native UK; a move that one can only see as Faithless removing themselves from the sphere of brutal comparison against latter-day contenders. A sorry and at the same time damning indict of their faith in this particular album. That is not to say that this isn’t a good album. Upon listening to the album, one is reminded of the mastery this trio, along with successful collaborations with old time partners like Dido on tracks like ‘Feeling Good’ and ‘North Star’. Both these songs are great examples why Faithless remain stalwarts and anticipated headliners at summer festivals all over the world. However, The Dance lacks the emotion of its predecessors and as such you’re left waiting for that stomach-grasping drop that make their past hits still so emphatic and era-defining.
With The Dance, Faithless have succeeded in creating another enjoyable yet emulative album underlining their trademark rousing beats, drops and hypnotic lyricism, it’s just a shame that it lacks the innovation to be really relevant to the contemporary landscape of dance music. In short, I expect more from them.
Get the album here.