Though drum & bass may not quite have the artistic cache it did three or four years ago (having been mired by soundalikes going for the impulse bang), it's still managing to hang on as a sort of frontier outpost for the most truly tweaked of DJs. This four-man production team fits firmly into that category, and the nine tracks that make up this stunning album go a long way toward re-establishing d&b as a creatively viable electronic form. These cuts do hew closely to the amped-up jungle ethos of recent d&b, rather than the more progressive sounds that were emerging from acts like Photek. But there's a stark, sci-fi darkness to many of the tracks that pushes them way beyond standard fare. The beats -- especially on the more nerve-wracking numbers like "The Hornet" -- shift in and out of tempo, undercut by relentless basslines. It's still high-octane dance music (rather than high-concept headphone music), but by insisting that drum & bass can still be imaginative, Bad Company UK are staking an original claim.
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