Much of the scene has been stuck on the shit but successful progressive-house templates of David Guetta and Calvin Harris lately. There’s been a bit of a rejuvenation of the underground house scene and a couple of artists trying to save drum and bass, but when it comes to full on, hard-hitting electronic chaos, we’ve been left at a bit of a loss.
Abandon Ship is a breath of fresh air in that sense, which is funny, because it’s packed so heavily with unrelenting madness that it’s unlikely fresh air will get anywhere near it when its blasted on the loud speakers.
There are a couple of songs tailored slightly more for the mainstream – single releases ‘Boss Mode’ and ‘Resistance’ unsurprisingly fit into this category – but even these are laden with the original beats and synth work that set Pendulum so far apart from anyone else in their field back in their prime.
The KP creativity shines through best on ‘EDM Trend Machine’ though, an ingenious tune that toys with various styles from the electronic world – taking classic rhythms from deep house, house, trance and more – to form something completely original and funky as hell.
To take so many sub-genres, integrate them all into one track and still come out with something so addictive is no mean feat. And it's a very apt symbol for how the rest of the album is run as well.
‘404’ plays on computer errors - of which there have been plenty in the charts of late - and soft melodies around a central, pulsating beat that’ll cause mayhem on the live stage.‘Begin Again’ is one for the old Pendulum fans meanwhile, providing a more traditional, vocal build-up piece reminiscent of 90s electronic rhythms.
It’s a giant fuck you to the EDM artists who either completely lost interest in the scene or never understood it to start with...
It’s at this point that you release that the Knife Party duo have taken it upon themselves to show the world that EDM, in all its sub-genres and with all its history, is well and truly alive.
Even alternative early-naughties inspired pieces – ‘D.I.M.H’ and the hilariously named ‘Micropenis’ – get a solid run out, while ‘Superstar’ has shades of Robyn S back in ’93, ‘Red Dawn’ mixes Fatboy Slim with Swire’s crave for heavy basslines and ‘Kaleidoscope’ finishes it off with a wonderful piece of composition.
This album is a wild ride. Swire and McGrillen take you on a tour of electronic history, showing you how vast it ranges, how wide it has spanned, and at the same time showing that there is still so much more that could come from the scene.
This album is heavy as hell, and in the best way possible, it’s going to give a lot of people headaches.
It’s a giant fuck you to the likes of Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki and Paris Hilton though, the people who either completely lost their interest in the scene or never understood it to start with. And for that exact reason, anyone who is even remotely interested in EDM simply must give it a listen.