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If Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems was your idea of house, this is the Drum n' Bass album for you
on 19 April 2013
OK, that's being a bit mean. But it's a fact that in music, you can have crossover releases, you can have cynical releases, and you can have commercial releases. A crossover release (The Prodigy's "The Fat of the Land" is still the best example) is one where the band doesn't compromise their sound one iota, but makes the mainstream come to them. A cynical release (Chase & Status' "No More Idols" probably fits the bill) is one that's still credible, but makes a few compromises in order to maximise selling potential. And a commercial release is one targeted to sell in Tesco.
"Nextlevelism" comes perilously close to the third. Fresh will insist it's about bringing music to the masses (and does on the album notes) but he does so by appealing to the lowest common denominator. So we get Skrillex-y flourishes, dubstep baselines, and more vocal hooks than an opera. The tracks are also very limited in terms of structure and get pretty repetitive after a couple of listens. Of the guest vocalists, Sian Evans, Rizzle Kicks, Liam Bailey and Juliette Lewis stand out; Dizzee Rascal's contribution is eerily similar to his work for Calvin Harris.
"Nextlevelism" can be judged a success if people buy it, and then go on to buy other (and better) albums in the same genre. If you've never bought a Dn'B album before, this is not a bad place to start for a soft introduction. If you already own a few, don't bother.