Roni Size's new eighteen-track opus opens with a sequel to 'Railing' from New Forms. The tone is a lot darker, bleaker… more industrial and dark techno sounding. While the Mercury prize winning 'New Forms' was a very polished produced song-ey album, 'In the Mode' sounds much more dry, fat and (ironically) underground…. Think Rhymes and Reznor over speedy beats …as the second track 'In & Out' comes up, it becomes apparent that this would be WAY COOL driving music! Close my eyes and I can kind of hear it booming from the back seat sub woofers of the Brixton automobile club, but equally, sounding as bleak as what John Peel might play at midnight. The dark tone, with a lot of dissonant sounds should appeal to aficionados of all things Wu Tang and Gravediggaz. I would say that I kind of miss the innovative rapping of this album's predecessor, but by taking a dark angle, Roni Size and Reprazent are treading different roads.* Method Man* guests on 'Ghetto Celebrity', and* Zack De La Rocha* at the top of his protesting agit-voice on 'Centre of the Storm', giving it a vibe like industrial Asian Dub Foundation… but then…ADF were support to Rage in Europe…maybe Zack got infected with the drum'n'bass bug then... 'S'Funny...I wonder why this kind of drum and bass isn't big in the US…maybe this high profile album will make a difference???
The album keeps up its drive with the poppy 'Lucky Pressure' then it goes back to dark territory. Brilliant human beatbox by* Rahzel* on* 'In Tune With The Sound'…and then the single *'Who Told You', which is like weird US avant-garde rock with its staccato synchronised vocals and beats, Sparks meets Busta Rhymes… amazing drumming by Rob Merrill. Very much the best track so far…but I guess that is why it was the single! 'Heavy Rotation' continues with the live rockish feel, though sounding really industrial, and then onto vocal territory with 'Staircase'… but always still using dark sounds and vibes, unlike the Jazz sounds of the previous LP.
It is left 'til the last track,* 'Play The Game'* to chill out the tempo, half the tempo of the previous tracks, laden with pianos, but still managing to keep that bleak tone…
....but then it suddenly stops and a voice calls out _'Is that it? Is it done now? Is it ready? _…. Good ending dude.
This will appeal more to the young rap fan than the coffee table crowd of the first album, and is a lot closer to the underground drum and bass that lives and thrives under our Spice and Step fed noses. I did wish for a bit more variety of tone…but then maybe the point was to be constant. …A good record nonetheless.
6Chris Nettleton's Score