Normally when an artist returns for a followup album, that album does one of two things: It either picks up where the debut album left off and sounds exactly the way you expected it to, or it branches off in an entirely new direction, and draws on a completely new set of influences. MSTRKRFT’s Fist of God sounded nothing like The Looks, both Simian Mobile Disco’s Temporary Pleasure and Boys Noize’s Power sounded more or less the same as Attack Decay Sustain Release and Oi Oi Oi respectively. Keep in mind, though, this applies only normally.
Skream’s followup to his 2005 self titled debut was released just shy of a week ago, and without even hearing it, I think we should all be able to agree that this Bristol-based producer is just about the farthest from normal one can get. Would you have thought to do what he did to La Roux’s “In For the Kill” vocal? Neither would I.
Had he been in compliance with the above pattern, there are two things we could have expected from Outside the Box. The first would have been twelve tracks of wobbling, abrasive, disgusting computer noise, and the second would have been something similar to the deep, minimalistic dub of Skream!, but like I mentioned, Skream didn’t get where he is today by simply meeting listeners’ expectations. After all, though it may never have occurred until now, one can assume the album is called Outside the Box for a reason.
To say the least Outside the Box surprised me. But I’m not going to say the least. I’m go to go all the way, and say that Outside the Box is the most innovative thing to come to the dubstep world since Fabric Live 37. Not only does Skream manage to cater to fans of both his heavy grime and his deeper, truer dub styles, but he simultaneously brings aboard an entirely new sound, perfectly crafted to nestle up close to the other two. What sound might that be? I’ve heard funky, I’ve heard poppy, and I’ve certainly heard 90’s ravey, but personally, I think it’s all that and more.
What do you think?