According to Rob Dougan's fan site, his age is "unknown". He was born in Australia, and was working in a bar in his mid twenties when he met producer Rollo. They began to collaborate and release remixes on Rollo's label 'Cheeky'. The label also held claim to acts such as Dido and Faithless. In 1995, Rob decided to go his own way. In 2001, a complete album was ready for release.
The album listens like scores to films, and carries very dramatic themes and soundscapes. The first single off the album, released in 1996, "Clubbed To Death" was used in the first Matrix film, and is a very widely known instrumental piece. Anyway, onto the track by track.
An instrumental introduction to the album, which is some slight strings and some eerie vocals. That's about it really. It serves as a good step up to the next track.
02 Furious Angels
Ah, the title track. Begins with a single slow long note played on cello and the first vocals, straight up. His voice is deep and dramatically dark. A slight beat comes in, followed by an awesome trip hop beat. Some fantastic backing vocal sampling, and a crazy good bridge area. Lyrics such as "If you go, furious angels will bring you back to me" make this song great. 5/5
03 Will You Follow Me"
The first glimpse of the crazy sense of drama on the album. A sweeping instrumental track, which sounds almost like you are flying through mountains in parts. Completely string arranged, with some choir-like vocals and some brass. A very triumphant and nice song. 4/5
04 Left Me For Dead
This song is fucking
awesome. Rob's vocals here just blow me away, the way that he strains and just sounds so hurt and angry. This is a dramatic movie scene like description of being left behind by a female. The chorus here is just brilliant. Again, almost completely driven by strings and a trip hop beat. 5/5
05 I'm Not Driving Anymore
This song was inspired by the driving scene in "Scent of a Woman". It has a very different feel than anything so far on the album. Bass heavy, and it sounds like a guitar with effects and strings. The vocals almost sound like he is crying, it's strange. This track has a lot more use of electronics than most other tracks on the album, and it mixes well. 4/5
06 Clubbed To Death
Most (if not all) of you would've heard this song. It is an epic masterpiece. One of the finest instrumentals I have heard. It begins with a quick string section, and then jumps right into a beat and cello with some sampling. The sampling builds with some robotic noises coming in, followed by a few different parts, and eventually dies down to a piano. This part is wonderful. Then some other things happen, which are awesome. 5/5
07 There's Only Me
A quick scratch sample, then some strings and a calm beat. Very, very nice. Vocal based, and this is a desperate love song. It is about a man waiting for a girl to finish loving every other man that she needs to before she will finally see him, and love him. I think that pretty much describes the song. 4.5/5
The third instrumental track on the album. Weirdly but aptly named. A freakishly well arranged string section occupies most of the song, and it feels like an interlude. This brings the pace back a little, and fits in oh so well. 4/5
09 Nothing At All
Piano again, accompanied by strings. Again, a very well arranged piece to start the track. The vocals come in suddenly, and are very deep and beautiful. Some acoustic guitar comes in with the vocals and a beat fills out the verse. The chorus is rather frigging wonderful, and is followed by a different second verse. This song is another love song, and is brilliant. 5/5
10 Born Yesterday
I remember thinking that this song was the weak link when I first listened to this album. I still think this. The drumbeat has a certain charm to it, but the lyrics and the vocal lines just don't do it for me. I have always disliked the term "Born Yesterday" though. There is one part that I dig though, when Rob's voice goes uber high. 3/5
11 Speed Me Towards Death
One of the best tracks on the album. It sounds so dramatically triumphant at the beginning and then Rob comes in with the lines
Speed me towards death
Cause I just can't wait for her
It is a wish for suicide song that turns into something a lot more hopeful. It is one of the best songs I have heard for a while. 5/5
12 Drinking Song
This is probably my favourite track on the album, even if it is completely different to the majority of Rob's stuff. It reminds me of Tom Waits. It is a rather jazzy number, just piano and Rob's deep dark voice. He sings the lyrics "Is there a melody that can lead you to me like a lullaby"
and it just makes me say wow. It is just so perfect, and it glides into a happy upbeat string section, and I can just imagine people dancing with their lovers in a courtyard. Perfection. The lyrics are just, so well put. 5.5/5
30 seconds or so of nothing.
14 One and the Same (Coda)
A rather epic close to the album. It begins with strings and some sampled voices and a drumbeat, which is very atmospheric. The vocals come in almost awkwardly, but well. The song slowly becomes driven by just a chorus of voices with Rob singing over the top. More instruments gradually come back in, and the song is just brilliant. It almost sounds like a song to go with the closing scene of a movie. How perfect.
This album is one of the best albums I have heard this year, and is in my top 3 trip hop albums that I have ever heard. Rob is a truly underrated artist, and this album shows what he is capable of. It is so close to perfection, and there are many perfect songs on the album.
For fans of:
Tom Waits (perhaps)
Trip Hop in general
Wide recommendation I know. ;)