Rob Dougan
Furious Angels


4.5
superb

Review

by MassiveAttack USER (91 Reviews)
March 17th, 2009 | 59 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rob Dougan nearly orchestrates his way towards perfection.

Genre-blending can be quite tricky to master or even attempt in any form. Of course there are a few exceptions to this rule. Many genres spawn from the blending of 2 or more. Trip-Hop for example blends soul, hip-hop, and rnb influences in one mainstay. Dougan tackles an all together behemoth of a task. Dougan attempts to blend classical movements, bluesy vocals and melodramatic sound in every song. His composer skill is put to the test with ‘Furious Angels’, blending all types of genres from blues, folk, classical, and electronic. We can’t help but revel in this type of approach throughout ‘Furious Angels’.

On first listen ‘Furious Angels’ would be an excellent soundtrack for any dark film-noir type of film. Most, if not all of the material that is presented on ‘Furious Angels’ is extremely dim. The title track begins with Dougan’s vocals entrenching and graining in your psyche; the dark material that will make the listener to is extremely vulnerable to the ear, once Dougan has had his say it completely climaxes with a rush of simple drum approach, along the background a soulful background singer make this track enthralling. The stop-go 3 minutes in is fantastic with an even more orchestra feel to it than it previously was built upon.

Much of this album is severely dependent on the classical genre. Why wouldn’t it be? When you incorporate something along the lines of that type of music it will be memorable to the listener in more ways than one. “Will You Follow Me?” is a classic example of how Dougan approaches his music like a composer would in any film. Each section contains violins that give it an uplifting feeling, yet contains a fresh feel to it. “I’m Not Driving Anymore” driving force is the drum beat (opening drum beat from “When The Levee Breaks”) that occur in the background, simultaneously including small electronic samples throughout, enhancing Dougan’s work further. The classical pace at which the vocals and the instrumentation work is done tremendously well. Throughout this entire album Dougan’s choice of samples and classical fortitude, not only helps Dougan with some of his pedestrian vocals, but also lifts the song in dramatic fashion. And for every man and woman that has seen the sci-fi movie of the past decade (debatable in many ways) “Clubbed To Death (Kurayamino variation)” makes its ever popular showcase on ‘The Matrix’. Mixing orchestral samples from a British composer (Edward Elgar) and big beats that never seem to get old “Clubbed To Death” is one track that sticks with you. I mean that sincerely, not only does it stun you the first time you listen to it, it feels like a drug, always nagging you for more.

Lyrically this album is impressive just as Dougan’s precise orchestral arrangements that are spread throughout the album. “Furious Angels”, “Left Me For Dead”, “Speed Me Towards Death” all show a vulnerable outlook from the narrator. The vocals are superb on most of the album, but all lack variance within Dougan’s voice. “Left Me For Dead” although lyrically and instrumentally is fantastic, begins to wear thin - Dougan’s voice gets somewhat irritating at some moments, luckily the track speeds by quickly for any of us to make a fuss about it. The angry vocals with all-familiar lyrical content seems a bit forced to add the heightened sense of dramatizing the song, this isn’t needed at all, since the instruments do all of the work. “There’s Only Me” brings Rob Dougan’s vocal performances to the forefront. The background music as always encompasses a constant drum beat that brings about the pace, while he orchestrates the strings before hand, setting the familiar tone of disparity. Vocally Dougan’s best performance is by far “Born Yesterday”, he uses the stop-n-go style with his vocals for moments and interludes them with piano breaks, violins, and the changing of the drum beat every few minutes.

“Just cause I smile like a child born yesterday.
And she thinks that I was born in another age.
She thinks that I get up with the sun and dream my life away.
And she thinks that I'm going nowhere cause I stay at one place.”

Rob Dougan orchestrates, sings, and produces a magnificent album. All and all this album turns out to be amazing, beautiful, and dramatic. The flaws are minimal for us to ignore. The lack of variance within his singing style (no making your voice angry doesn’t count) is somewhat disappointing, but considering all of the positives Dougan tends to bring out within himself in this album its has become quite the accomplishment. The breaks of the all familiar noir type of music are a reminder of ‘hope’ (I would assume) since this album is dark in many ways. “Instrumental” and “Nothing At All” give that sense of hope, even if some of the subject matter within the song is murky. “Drinking Song” is the only true track that is skip worthy. The attempt to carry the song by himself without his classical movements completely fails. Dougan stated he’ll be orchestrating two different types of album that have yet to garner any news since the announcement 2 years ago (2007). We can only hope he decides to go through with it since his first album was magnificently crafted.



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user ratings (90)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
ninjuice (4.5)
Unique yet accessible, grand yet intimate, Furious Angels is an amazing blend of trip-hop, cinematic...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
March 17th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmmm I read ninjuice's review and I liked it, but I had to put my 2 cents in. I had a span where I would listen to this for a week...nothing else.



Some recommended tracks:

Furious Angels

Will You Follow Me?

I'm Not Driving Anymore

Clubbed to Death (Kurayanimo Variation)

Born Yesterday

Speed Me Towards Death

ninjuice
March 17th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just wait till I rewrite mine....muahahaha.

I definitely disagree with you about Drinking Song, since I've come to really enjoy his voice, and the strings at the end are awesome.

The end of Left Me for Dead almost sounds he's gotten drunk in the studio but for whatever reason it still works. Good review overall.

MassiveAttack
March 17th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know man I feel Drinking Song vocally is just not good. Yeah the strings are good, but I didn't really get into it like the rest of this album.



Oh and REWRITE IT! GO! GO! GO! GO! OK...Done.. lolThis Message Edited On 03.17.09

MassiveAttack
March 18th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hmm surprised this didn't garner many comments, this album is superb! Right ninjuice?!?!

taylormemer
March 18th 2009


4964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album.

MassiveAttack
March 18th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You know you're fighting boredom when you refresh the sputnik page every 10 seconds. And yes I love this album. Taking a break from this album every now and again will make it feels refreshing and interesting as the first time you listened to it.This Message Edited On 03.17.09

taylormemer
March 18th 2009


4964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I remember when I first heard 'Clubbed to Death". Bliss.

ninjuice
March 18th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is tragically underrated. Most of the time I wanna give it a 5, but feel like I don't know enough about trip hop/electronica and the "appropriate" rating is lower.

My review will mention that there's an overall concept - it's kind of the In the Wee Small Hours of trip hop. You could even say there's somewhat of a story outline as well.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
March 18th 2009


22499 Comments


As always, a great review Marko. I don't think I'm anywhere near trip-hop ready for this album as yet.

Athom
Emeritus
March 18th 2009


17242 Comments


surprisingly, i have no idea who the fuck this guy is.

ninjuice
March 18th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Davey, it's not all that trip-hop "heavy" or anything. Basically it's a rough, low singer with an orchestra and beats behind him. I think almost anyone could get into this.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
March 18th 2009


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is good fun, but the strings get really overbearing and gimmicky at times. Still a great listen though.

Digging: Olivia Rodrigo - SOUR

MassiveAttack
March 18th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yea I don't see a MAJOR Trip-Hop influence at all. Its more electronic/classical heavy than anything. His vocals are good in some places, but more instrumental tracks would of sufficed (would of been a 5 if he replaced a few songs like Drinking Song). I don't know I'm trying to figure what other track he could of replaced to help it, but its quite difficult since they are so melded together with the whole concept. Just listen to it Davey you won't be disappointed at all.

deadinholywood
July 4th 2009


246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I listened to this album for the first time in ages the other night while i was cooking dinner. I was in sort of a gloomy mood and it was raining outside but the music was just perfect.

Its an album that i sort of forget about then come back to and remember how awesome it is. Very under rated.

I wish he would hurry up and release his new albums

MassiveAttack
July 4th 2009


2754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yea he has been working on it for quite some time. It's supposed to be a 2-CD album so should be good.

Motiv3
July 17th 2009


9030 Comments


i need this, clubbed to death is one of my favourite chill out songs ever.

Piglet
July 17th 2009


8015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah it owns.



Left Me for dead and Furious Angels are still my favourite though.

Douglas
July 23rd 2009


9297 Comments


Clubbed to Death is fantastic, I might check the whole album out.

Piglet
July 23rd 2009


8015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Matrix Soundtrack is amazing because of Clubbed To Death.

ninjuice
July 23rd 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dougie if you like the title track (music video should be on Youtube) then you'll hopefully like the whole thing.

Really wish I hadn't resubmitted my review of this btw.



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