RONI SIZE REPRAZENT In The Mode (Talkin Loud)
Following the Mercury-besting success and subsequent coffee-table ubiquity of the Bristol drum 'n' bass collective's debut album "New Forms", "In The Mode" sees Reprazent - with their burgeoning side-projects and collaborations surely Britain's closest equivalent, in modus operandi if not musical style, to the Wu-Tang Clan - take their music back to the underground from whence it originally sprang. Mostly "In The Mode" is a brain-jarring ride, discordant, accusatory and distorted compared to its illustrious predecessor, as you might expect from an album that boasts guest appearances from Wu-Tang Clan associate Method Man and Rage Against The Machine member Zack De La Rocha. There are occasional moments of soul-drenched beauty, such as the luscious "Lucky Pressure" and the atypical piano piece "Play The Game", but otherwise Size makes no concessions to his post-award expanded fanbase. Being even harder to take in one sitting than "New Forms", "In The Mode" is unlikely to establish itself as a classic outside the drum 'n' bass cognoscenti, but with his chosen style of music having assimilated itself so seamlessly into the mainstream that it now soundtracks adverts Size has arguably progressed in the only credible direction open to him. If you can negotiate its expansive length and oppressive aesthetic, "In The Mode" is a worthy album.