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Album Review: Modestep - Evolution Theory

6 March 2013 | 10:47 am | Benny Doyle

"Modestep are an interesting progression that shows there’s still plenty of life left in the dubstep formula. Evolution Theory indeed..."

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Live dubstep. In today's wobble nation, full of basslines that sound like dropped custard played by po-faced DJs not giving us an inch, such a title is almost an oxymoron. Modestep are pushing boundaries though, no doubt, and although there are certain beat breakdowns that you've probably heard before, by adding guitar riffs, drum fills and genuine choruses they've created a beast that's instantly built for arenas.

Evolution Theory is the debut record from the London four-piece, and if you're a bit jaded about Pendulum morphing into a spoon-feeding production act then this is the album you've been searching for. Straight out of the blocks with Show Me A Sign, the upward build acts like a portal into the record, sucking you in before exploding like the Blighty sky on Guy Fawkes night. Another Day follows, with the stirring vocals of Popeska acting as the heart of a lurching beast that still manages to feel warm and sunny while bashing you around with thick lumps of bass. But the difference with this record to, let's say, Nero's Welcome Reality, is that there are some sharp turns away from the expected. Time, for example, owes more to Santana than it does to Skream, and gives the record breathing space in the midsection. Such excursions might alienate those looking for pure hedonism; either way, it's risky and bold, points of which should be commended.

To be honest, 15 tracks stretches the friendship by album's end. But in a genre that's becoming bloated with mediocre movements, Modestep are an interesting progression that shows there's still plenty of life left in the dubstep formula. Evolution Theory indeed...