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54
4.7 out of 5 stars
Giants
Format: Audio CDChange
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I don`t think there has been an album so eagerly awaited by the fans of Chicane as there has this one. It has so much to prove and to banish the Easy to Assemble / Somersault era, that followers of Mr Bracegirdle`s work have waited with baited breath to see what would emerge from his studio. Well, after an initial delay we now have our answer... GIANTS..!
Gone is the euro-pop awkwardness of the previous offering, here we have a sublime return to form as the sound we already knew and loved from Behind the Sun and Far from the maddening crowd seeps seemlessly into this latest work. There are a couple of nods to the Somersault days but thankfully these are very limited, although in defence of Somersault there were a couple of decent tracks on there (Spirit, The way im feelin`. Its very obvious from the opening track here that Chicane has returned back to where he belongs. "Barefoot" is classic Chicane, slow to build with every little bit of added layer but wonderful to behold when it reaches its peak. "Middledistancerunner" (why no spaces i wonder?) is catchy, a good mix of old/new Chicane and wonderful Adam Young sample - a good choice for a single release, and indeed i would urge you to check the different mixes on I-Tunes. "Come Back" isn`t in the same league and does feel like a rather poor attempt at a commercial track for club play, it does not fit in well with the album, but having said that, its one of those you can`t help tap your foot too. "What am i doing here PT1" is a bleak, haunting track which reminded me a little of No Ordinary Morning from the Behind the Sun album, nonetheless it was perfectly acceptable here. Did i detect the same track layer from Middledistancerunner used again in here..? "Giants", the title track, was a little off-putting on the first play but repeated plays have given me the idea that Nick is having a laugh with this one, its so clearly not Chicane and yet it is... wonderful. "Poppiholla" is a personal favourite of mine, i liked the original very first time i heard it and i still have not tired of it. It has drawn comments from crtics but i felt it emerged at the right time and is a great example of a Chicane sample and a summer anthem all in one. "So far out to sea" - oooh, this is soooo good. I HAD to repeat play this track a few times... classic. "Where do i start?" is Chicane again back in well worn pathway territory, and all the better for it. "From where i stand" is simply stunning and i agree with another reviewer here, it would be my choice for second single release. Can`t wait to hear a Disco Citizens remix of it, or even Thrillseekers mix... "Hiding all the Stars" uses that wonderfully iconic sample from Gary Numans Cars bolted onto a meaty Chicane serving of radio friendly pop. Not his best but like Come Back, its just about acceptable. "What am i doing here PT2" has Lemar`s vocal heavily synthed and mixed, but a damn good track and yes, as stated elsewhere i can see it being a minor hit for the singer should he release it separately. As the album closes with "Titles" we have that trademark, dream-like melodic Chicane sound back again, round it off neatly... that is - if it was not for the unlisted track 13, which turns out to be remix of Middledistancerunner...
Overall - Chicane is most definitely back, and back bigtime!! This album demonstrates he cares about his fans as their complaints about the last album have not only been heard but acted upon too. It would have been nice to not have Come Back or Hiding all the Stars on here as i feel that they have done what they had to do on EP`s so their inclusion here smacks a little of laziness. Oh how good it could have been with two new tracks to replace them...?
Haunting and melodic, trancey and yet delicate, and with enough new ground taken to make this stand out as a return to form, Giants is the Chicane album we have been waiting for.
Yep... Chicane is most DEFINITELY back....!!!!!!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is a great comeback return of the trademark sound of CHICANE!!! The sound takes you on a journey through magical bliss, very reminiscent of "Far From The Maddening Crowds" and "Behind The Sun"...An emotional ambience is felt through every track that uplifts the mind, heart, body and soul...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
Having been a huge fan of "far from the maddening crowds" as a recent graduate setting out in life ("Red Skies" was a personal favourite), listening to "Saltwater" from "Behind the sun" some years later and absolutely loving it, I was horribly disappointed by "Somersault". It was more like a backflip and landing on their head.

Then, recently, while driving down the fast lane of the M1, somewhere near Sheffield on the way to Cornwall, I heard Poppiholla (5am). It was like an old friend from years gone by just showing up, and saying "a up, how's it going?". New, fresh, but reassuringly familiar. And absolutely perfect music for about 70 mph on a clear road.

It is worth buying this album just for this track. Like all that's good about trance music condensed into 5 minutes. Like a layer cake of music, it starts with an embarassingly simple drum beat, a fine sprinkling of the signature soft synth, then a layer of gently insistant piano. A pause to savour the flavour, not quite to silence, followed by a robust reprise, a bit more velocity on the piano, and a few more layers of synth.

To be short, it's an incredibly simple track, but I've not heard anything as perfectly formed in ages, possibly either Orbital's swansong, "one perfect sunrise", or maybe something like "textures" by Robert Miles. There's some other pretty good tracks on this album, but buy it for Poppiholla.

So, Chicane, welcome back. You were missed.

p.s. By the way, the bbc reviewer who berated it for not having something new was missing the point. He'd have loved Somersault, no doubt. Sometimes what you want is a new mix of old flavours, not something totally new.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2010
Chicane's problem is a problem that occurs a lot in music... the first album offering is too good. FFTMC was a massive album, I think it is the only electronic album that I can listen to from start to finish paying attention to each track along the way, it's just brilliant. The 2nd BTS was great as well, the 3rd Easy to Assemble wasn't so hot and Somersault, I can only really remember the great track 'U R Always' and the fairly ok Stoned in love. It has just felt he got lost along the way, moving away from what made the first 2 albums so successful.

You can tell by the first track in Giants that it's more of the old sound chicane. The album is a little patchy. For me the highlights are:

Come back - It's uplifting and sounds quite fresh
What am I doing here pt1 - Nice vocals and tempo
So Far Out To Sea - if you took the vocals off (which I think don't really add that much to the track) this would be like a FFTMC or BTS bonus track
Where to do I start - this caught me off gaurd, the voice is very angelic and has a nice trancy feel
From Where I Stand - very solid and something that would fit in at a club well

the negative

Poppiholla (5am) - this is a good track, I kinda like it but feels so cheesy and it came out ages ago
Hiding All The Stars - bad, worst on the album, again too big a sample

Overall - Get it if you like chicanes old stuff or electronic in general. I personally think it has too many vocal tracks that are sometimes nice, can often be too cheesy and just unnecessary.

I would usually give an album like this 3 stars but he gets an extra for making an album more like what the fans wanted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2010
I've waited a long time for this album. After the disappointment of 'Somersault', I was looking forward to a return to form from Chicane, and this is definitely IT! Although it still has not got the same quality of Nick's seminal first album, 'Far From The Maddening Crowds', it does the job admirably. Some people will be disappointed that the majority of the tracks have vocals, but they are not at all out of place on any of the tracks, with the stand out ones for me being Adam Young's on 'Middledistancerunner', the rework of 1980's legend Paul Young's 'Come Back (and stay)', and Blandine's 'voxed' voice on the emotional 'What Am I Doing Here Pt.1'.

The title track, 'Giants', seems to be Chicane's take on the early work of Jean-Michel Jarre, which is no bad thing, and is fast becoming a favourite. But the first track, 'Barefoot', is just pure Chicane. A multi-layered feast of Balearic chill, it just takes me straight back to when I first started listening to Chicane, back in 1997, and it reminds me why I like Nick's music so much. In short, there is something for everyone here: for the Chicane fans, and for newbies, discovering his music from hearing the excellent 'Hiding All The Stars' on the dance floors of Britain. Also, if you head over to Chicane's website, you can download a free track, 'Velo', which is a pretty good freebie! Thanks Chicane!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2010
I've had this album for several months now and have listened to it fully quite a lot, there's a little bit of everything in this album, something ambient, something clubby. Because Poppiholla had already received a single CD release and was featured on the Best of Chicane 1996 - 2009 album Nick felt it would it would be boring to include it in the album but also a shame to leave it out so he gave the track a slower and more gentle flow. Hiding all The Stars and Come Back also feature on the album since Poppiholla's big success kind of put off plans for the rework EP which was originally a separate project to the album.

The track Giants was described by Nick as what Jean Michel Jarre (godfather of electronic) would create if he were still producing today, it really does have something about it which does sound like what Jean Michel Jarre would create.

My favourite track on this album is "So Far Out To Sea" Nick has managed to create a drum and bass tempo track with the feel of a downtempo song, the angelic vocals are an added bonus, probably the most beautiful ambient tracks he has ever created, this album is definitely his best one to date, I don't usually say this about most of my music collection as it has to be pretty amazing to me in order for me to say so, but I'm proud to own this on CD.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2010
After the patchy Somersult...Chicane have returned back to what has made them so popular and unique. Gone is the attempt at Rock/Non-dance tracks and back in are the sunlit deep instrumentals like Barefooft,Titles and Poppiholla (5am). The 5am track adds a very calm and dreamy spin on what is a well established and popular track that was released a year ago.
Gone also are Somersault's short and sweet under 5 minute tracks, here the tracks are longer and layered with different textures that take their time to build over an extended length, they are given room to build, to ebb and flow and ultimately the payoff is sweeter for it.
On this album it is the vocal tracks that stand out...gone are the predominant males vocals of Somersault and now we have female vocals that suit and compliment their dancey instrumental back ground better.
It is also clear that Chicane's songwriting has taken a giant leap since Somesault as well...the euro pop sound is replaced by the well constructed and thought out dance music that he was revered for.
There are so many stand out tracks to choose from...So Far Out To Sea features a haunting female vocal set back into a dreamy downtempo soundscape that swells and swirls around you. From Where I Stand is an uptempo dance number that has to be a future single...it is impossible to get out of your head. Where Do I Start is a bouncy summery number that is familiar yet new to those that know their Chicane tracks. Middledistancerunner is a great track with a great vocal from Owl City's Adam Young (look out for the disco citizens remix of the track which improves on the album version). Again MDR is impossible to get out of your head once listened to.
Of the two part What Am I Doing Here it is Part 2 that really excells...Lemar's vocal's are electroically altered but it works and suits a crescendo dance number that is upbeat and yet still overflowing with those now famous deep Chicane pads.

Critisisms...the tracks Come Back and Hiding All The Stars were, when they were released, part of a remake ep idea that Chicane had and didn't follow through on. Their presence on this album makes them stand out as nowhere near as good as the self penned tracks around them and interupt the flow slightly.
But hey... that's the beauty of itunes playlists, you mix an album up to how you want it and leave out tracks you don't like.

To close...Giants is not quite Far From The Maddening Crowds or Behind The Sun,they are unique in this genre. However Giants is not so far off these classics.
Fans who may not have fully appreciated the albums Easy To Assemble and Somersault or felt Chicane had lost their way, will definately feel rewarded and overjoyed by this sublime record.
Thank you Chicane for listening to your fans and producing the album they've been so desperately waiting for since 2000.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2010
As someone who does not often give reviews, this is one of those rare exceptions ....

Though I'm someone who is well into their sixth decade I have always had (what I am told is) an eclectic taste in music. I am not going to write diatribes about this, that & the other about this album.

I will say just this ...

If you, dear reader, like this genre of music, THIS is a definitive album - just buy it, don't fanny about ...

My only comment to Mr Bracegirdle; you shouldn't have called it 'GIANTS' - maybe 'THE DOGS B#**O!K!' would have been more apt ...

Should you now decide to call it a day, then this album will, in my eyes, stand as a landmark.

Should you decide to continue, then I have concerns about how exactly are you going to follow it...

Go on, prove me wrong ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2010
I couldn't disagree more with the BBC review (does my licence fee pay for this rubbish?), this album shows that Chicane has reached maturity in their own time. This is an absolutely sure-footed release and every single track is strong in it's own way. There are some great ambient tracks here harking back to Madding Crowds, some fresh sounding trance and a great 80's electro vibe that works really well. Also worth a mention is the production quality - the sound just leaps out of the speakers. You can tell every track has been crafted, every waveform carefully positioned in the stereo field. For me, this is a stand out CD of 2010.
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on 9 August 2010
I've been a fan of Chicane for many years and rate Far From the Maddening Crowd as one of my all time favourite albums - and Behind the Sun isn't that far out of the Top 5 either. So when Chicane released Somersault I was a bit disappointed; it's good but I can't listen to it without feeling it could have been so much more. So it was with some trepidation that I blundered compulsively into buying Giants without actually listening to it before hand.
I needn't have worried - it's a cracker.
First let me say, as hinted in the title, it isn't as good as FFTMC but I don't think any Trance artist is ever going to be able to recreate the feeling that album exudes, not even Nick himself.
But if you take this album on it's own merits, and you should, it should be regarded as nothing more than a huge success. Don't get me wrong - it's not ground breaking by any stretch of the imagination, but who wants reinvention every time?
Highlights for me include "Barefoot", a kick back to the style of FFTMC and BTS, "What Am I Doing Here Pt.1" (a mainly vocal track which I didn't like on SOMERSAULT but works here), "Where Do I Start?" and "Titles" but in all honesty there is hardly a duff track on the album. Except the title track "Giants", it's probably the worst Chicane track I've heard. But I can forgive that small indiscretion; after all, that's what the SKIP button is for.
If you're new to Chicane you can do worse than start here. For those who love the previous albums, you won't be disappointed. I can see myself playing this one again and again.
I think I've found my soundtrack to Summer '10.
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