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EMF - 'The Beauty And The Chaos' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. Hello People

2. Reach For The Lasers

3. 21st Centaury

4. Read The Room

5. I've Been Down

6. The Day The Music Died

7. Stardust

8. Lookout Mountain

9. Red Flags

10. Do It Again


When you mention the band EMF to most people the first thing that will come to them is the early 90’s hit “Unbelievable”. Their fusion of dance and indie rock became a global hit. In fact the band produced a total of three albums before taking several breaks over the years. 2022 saw them release their first full length album in 27 years, “Go Go Sapiens”. Rather than relegate themselves to the nostalgia circuit of trying to hang onto fading glories, the band knuckled with producer Ralph Jezzard (who helmed both “Schubert Dip” and “Stigma”) to see what magic they could create and, with 'The Beauty And The Chaos', EMF show us that they're nowhere close to fading away anytime soon.


Opening track “Hello People” sets out the band's agenda immediately with it's electro-rave glam-rock stomp. It’s melodic hooks get deep in you before you realise the political nature of the lyrics, a plea for tolerance towards immigrants and a rejection of the hate crimes associated with it, something that comes to the fore with the single‘s remix which features a narration from Steven Fry, a long-time fan of the band.


The band career through the 10 track album with an energy that's infectious. It's upbeat and euphoric, mixing layers of samples and electronic sounds with the more traditional bass, guitar and drums. There's a disco backbeat here (“Reach for the Lasers”), a swaggering guitar there (“Read The Room”). “I've Been Down” out Kasabians Kasabian with it's pulsing verse, while there's a Stax sounding brass refrain on “The Day The Music Dies”. ”Stardust” is a psychedelic rave with James Atkins' breathy vocals given plenty of room. Ian Dench's guitar features prominently on “Red Flags” as it snakes around the room while album closer “Do It Again” employs subtle tempo changes to aid the narrator's story of a possible hedonistic past that’s almost doomed to be repeated unless the lessons aren't learned.


The music is polished to a high sheen by and is a lot more electronic than their last release. The indie rock basic sound is flavoured at various times with psychedelia, soul, dance, rave, gospel and pop. Think Primal Scream's “Screamadelica” with a more upbeat energy to it. The songs bounce along at a good pace and don't leave your head in a hurry (I had “Hello People” stuck in my head doing the 4am feed with my son the other morning). With “The Beauty And The Chaos” EMF are starting the party for 2024 early, and they're setting a high bar for others to beat.



Review - Scott Hamilton

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