Review Summary: Meat Beat Manifesto’s foray into ambient soundscapes is a largely forgettable experience that lacks the quirky flair of the genre’s top artists.
Meat Beat Manifesto have been releasing quality electronic albums since the late eighties. Over their twenty -year career they have constantly pushed their sound in new directions – from their twitchy beginnings to the pounding dub beats of their last album, they have never stayed in one place for too long. That ever-changing formula has always been a part of this band’s appeal, and it had never hurt their high level of quality – that was until now. Answers Come in Dreams
continues Meat Beat Manifesto’s constant push for new ideas, but this time the end result might be a little bit hard for fans to accept.
Regardless of Meat Beat Manifesto’s direction, the one constant has always been the huge beats and thunderous bass, but they’ve finally become a casualty of the band’s constant evolution. The man behind the band, Jack Dangers, has decided to strip the music down to its bare minimum and deliver an album full of chill electronic ambience. Answers Come in Dreams
is a dark, sparse album that shares more in common with Aphex Twin
’s ambient outputs or Dead Cities
-era The Future Sound of London
than anything from its own discography. The pounding beats have been reduced to a laid-back pace that would barely even register on a BPM scale, and the punchy bass has been replaced by a deep rolling bottom end that blankets just about everything (The Orb
’s Orbus Terrarum
is a good reference point). Over that rhythmic foundation is a minimal collection of samples, found sounds, and cyclic synth noises that move in and out of each track with regularity. The problem is that, although well executed, the songs on Answers Come in Dreams
lack the flair that is required to make this type of music work.
The big names of the ambient genre are all well-known for their individual styles and quirky nuances that make their albums the interesting pieces that they are, and this album is missing that. Instead of creating any kind of real ambience or atmosphere, Answers Come in Dreams
feels like exactly what it is – a collection of digital noises over various beats without any real soul or presence. If The Orb makes you feel like you’re floating through the clouds and The Future Sound of London drag you through auditory landscapes, then Answers Come in Dreams
sits you in a dimly lit room to watch paint dry while coming down from a trip… not a lot of fun but not too bad of a time either.