Chicane - An Ocean Apart (Official Music Video)

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Published on 19 Jul 2021, 15:00
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Since Chicane burst onto the scene in 1996 with seminal ‘trance’ track ‘Offshore’, he has supplied a steady cache of classics, crossing over into mainstream. Like it or not, he has not been shackled by musical snobbery, working with diverse music acts. Some were internationally famous like Cher, Bryan Adams, Sir Tom Jones, Sigur Rós and Everything But the Girl, while others are more esoteric, like the Icelandic band Vigri and Maltese vocalist Joseph Aquilina. The records have sold aplenty and the streams are more a river, irrigating the drier parts of the dance genres.

Chicane has always been an anomaly from the very start. Nick Bracegirdle surrounded himself with musicians and Chicane was a band, an interaction rather than a code or sequence. Early fans will know this from the beauty of the orchestrations on albums such as ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ and ‘Behind the Sun’.

So, some twenty-five years later... the eighth Chicane studio album arrives (the ninth if you include the unreleased 2003 ‘Easy to Assemble’). Written and recorded over the past year at his studio on the island, this is an album of peaceful reflection, hope, reverence and of course isolation, something so many know so much about at the moment. Perhaps with that reflection, it is no surprise that some of the tracks, such as ‘Never Look Back’ and ‘Make You Stay’, achieve the holy grail of sounding like the youthful Chicane, albeit one molded through a vortex of the last twenty years or so, and offer something new and clean with a desire for space in which to breathe.

The opening track sets the aural tone for one part of the album and represents the beauty of Chicane tracks at their best: ‘Everything We Had to Leave Behind’, featuring the stunning vocals of Maltese singer Joseph Aquilina, who also appears on ‘1000 More Suns’. It soars and inspires, and it’s not quite what you’d expect from a renowned dance artist. But fear not; there is plenty of what we’ve come to expect from Chicane too, as those that know the beginning of the journey may well make comparisons to ‘Low Sun’ or ‘Overture’.

‘Never Look Back’ follows, and although the dichotomy of this album lies with ‘Make You Stay’, it knows where it’s going and how to gracefully take you there. And yet, it’s not without the joyous romps we have come to expect from Chicane: two treatments of songs by Christopher Cross (‘Sailing’) and Bon Iver (‘8 (Circle)’) – both of whom Chicane is an admirer of – played on his Chicane Sun:Sets podcast to crank up the tempo. Also in that parade is ‘1000 More Suns’.

The tenure of the Chicane Sun:Sets podcast is ‘from the beach to the dance floor’. That structure lies at the heart of the new album, basking in the sun one minute and feeling the call to the floor the next.

There are fourteen tunes on this album. It has flow, no filler. There’s always so much that can be written, but music has no place on the page. It needs to be in your ears, in your head. Try it, you might like it... Like it and you will be a convert.

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