Modestep are one of a few, a ‘dubstep band’ with real live instruments. I use quotation marks because they’re more than about just dubstep, they bleed into surrounding genres such as drum and bass, rock, grime and electronica. As mentioned, the best part about the British four-peice is that rather than fiddling about on a computer twiddling buttons and pressing knobs, they create their music from the ground up, using live drumkits, guitars and vocals courtesy of frontman Josh Friend.
London Road is the group’s second studio album since 2013’s Evolution Theory, an album home to some of the band’s biggest hits including Sunlight and Show Me A Sign. With production of course handled by Modestep themselves, set to feature on the project are a plethora of British names including Big Narstie, Frisco and Skindred.
London Road is an onslaught of sound from the get-go, straight from the wobbing, Skrillex-channelling opener featuring vocals from Snatch’s Alan Ford, and it’s good to see the relentlessness isn’t lifted for much of the album. With an assortment of sounds coming from all directions, the inspirations and comparisons don’t stop beyond the duke of dubstep. Machines, for example nods at the likes of Linkin Park at the same time as Pendulum, wrapped up with an irresistible guitar solo. Where as indie Brit-rock made famous by the likes of Arctic Monkeys surprisingly worm their way into the LP on Snake, which sounds like a clash of the aforementioned and Chase & Status’ Fool Yourself. What’s more is that I’m surprised how well all the songs sit together on the same project.
I liked London Road. It’s a no-nonsense blood pumping ordeal that does exactly what it sets out to do. Vocals and guitar solos break the album up nicely to save it from being boring, and the surprising outsider influences are also great to see; what’s more they’re executed near-flawlessly. I think Modestep are pushing themselves a bit with minimalist-to-heavy tracks like On Our Own, which unfortunately, simply aren’t very good, but on the most part, the hits make up for the misses.
Verdict – WWW