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The Other Side by Pendulum

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Reviewed on 11th August 2008.


The Other Side

By Pendulum

It's difficult to see where Pendulum get their rock-dance crossover act credentials from, but as an accessible drum and bass act, Pendulum are the best. This trippy trance number only ever puts one foot wrong, and that's with an overlong and uninspiring breakdown section. But, if this song isn't quite perfection, then it's pretty close to it.

The vocals are tampered with until it sounds like 'The Other Side' is being sung by robots and that, coupled with the electronica backing beat makes this song an addictive, guilty pleasure. The verses in particular are a stroke of twisted genius, as robotic male and female vocals bounce off one another in a space-aged style that's completely Pendulum's own.

The backing beat is surprisingly complex, with a swamp of distortion and shed loads of sound effects all twisting around one another - not that you'll notice that complexity beneath the absorbing vocals. No boom-boom-boom-same-line-repeated-over-and-over dance number is this; it's smart, elaborate and has more hooks than a pop song.

The chorus in particular is very poppy, but this is disguised behind waves of souped-up vocals and synths. This is where Pendulum are absolute geniuses, taking a hook-laden pop chorus, repackaging it as a dance song and then flogging it to both the rockers and the ravers. You may not think Pendulum are your 'kind of thing' but they have the sort of strange appeal you can't really appreciate until you've heard it for yourself. Give Pendulum a chance and you might just be pleasantly surprised.

The 'Original Mix' may be a storming dance number that's guaranteed to put you in the party mood, but the three additional versions offered on this CD are more 'The Other Side' than we really need. The most pointless is the 'Radio Edit,' which is just 'The Other Side' with the atmospheric build-up lopped off. While it's clear why this makes the song more suitable for radio, we really didn't need it including on the CD. The space should have been given to an original mix of a different Pendulum track. This would make 'The Other Side' CD more varied, better value for money, and perhaps turned a few fans of 'The Other Side' into full-blown Pendulum devotees. As it is, this CD sells Pendulum as the daddies of one storming track, but not much else.

Then there's the 'VIP Mix,' which is strictly for the dance fanatics. Although the instrumental sections are crammed with psychedelic synths, this version is devastated by dance music's habit of drip-feeding you lyrics. This completely destroys the chorus' momentum, and even worse, those guilty-pleasure verses occur in a stripped-down section, without all those dizzying sound effects. Hearing the lyrics clearly makes you realise just how cheesy they are, and you may never look at this song in the same way again.

The final offering, 'Dubstep Mix' is a bunch of irritating sound effects and the same lyric repeated over and over again. Basically, dance music at its most clichéd and stagnant.

The impact of this CD is weakened by too many unnecessary remixes, when it seems glaringly obvious that Pendulum should have stuck a few album-only tracks on this CD to serve as a treat for their existing fans and an enticing hook for Pendulum newbies. But, Pendulum can get away with releasing a single where only one track is actually worth listening to - the 'Original Mix' really is that good.



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