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No Roots by Faithless

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Reviewed on 13th June 2004.


No Roots

By Faithless

On awaiting 'No Roots' I heard a rumour that it was a political album. This had me slightly worried as I believe music made with a political agenda often sounds awkward, forced, and artificial, although, I admit there are exceptions.

'No Roots' is not like this. Its lyrics are personal and natural. It's social politics and I believe very easy to relate to if you are patient enough to listen. I don't have a problem with listening to anyone who has something valid to say, and I believe this album does.

'Mass Destruction' is a stand out track. A song by this name, by any other artist or band would have a 99% chance of being cheesy and awkward, but this track is lyrically poignant, with a musical groove that carries it. Maxi Jazz has an amazing ability to put together lyrics with fluidity, rhyme and a message, to speak with honesty, and say wise things without preaching. This fact is demonstrated in this song.

Tracks 3 & 4 are called 'I Want More - Pt 1' and 'I Want More - Pt 2' because, one track obviously wasn't enough. Part one is made up of an acoustic guitar sample, drum loops and a vocal line that sounds like another instrument. It's very subtle, the kind of track you would expect on a chill out album. The message as I interpret it is 'life's a gift' and we all take what we have for granted, and we can't enjoy life, because we're all too busy trying to get somewhere else or something new.

The change over of tracks is seamless, although, part two is a euphoric dance tune that I would describe as candy for clubbers. The message in the lyrics of part two is the same as part one, but it's easier to miss due to the pick up in speed. There are so many variations in the music, the diversion of electronic sounds, vocal lines and textures that make you listen to the music and the music of the vocal sounds, rather than any message.

I heard that Faithless have said that this is an album about love, and with the word 'love' in two of the track titles, maybe this is the true intention, and politic just happen to be a theme because modern events and the social politics of them are testing everyone and everything, including the strength of love.

'Miss You Less See You More' is a love song you can dance to (a rarity that should be valued) with a very logical title. There is a line 'miss you less, see you more, love to know you better' that is repeated among many other lyrics, it is anthemic, especially as it is backed up by a catchy loop of piano / keyboard. I suspect this has the ideal elements to be sampled and made into a mindless dance tune, which is a shame as I think it's faultless and shouldn't be distorted.

The title track 'No Roots' begins with phases then drifts into a simple acoustic loop, minimal guest vocals from Dido, acoustic arpeggios, harmony from Maxi Jazz, and so much depth and so many layers of sound that it would take centuries to hear it all.

The first half of this album is intensely lyrical. The second half, intensely musical with electronic keyboard phase sounds and varied drum loops that may be expected. What you don't expect is, classical piano, flute and most surprisingly - distorted guitar!

The best songs on this album are the subtle ones, and 'No Roots' is a very subtle album. It doesn't demand your attention, but I find that if you listen to it properly, and give it some attention, your hooked and you want to listen to it again. This is a modern concept album, but it is also great music so it's enriching, and also enjoyable to listen to.



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