Just over 12 years since their debut album was released, the drum-and-bass duo return with a mesmerising and wide-ranging sophomore record.
Matrix & Future certainly have a clue what they’re doing with their latest release. After a string of Top 40 singles since 2007’s Universal Truth, the pair present their well-developed sound over 17 tracks.
The previous hits are in there, with the album opening up with the progressive Breathe followed by ZELAH’s powerful feature on Got You There. Max Marshall also shines on her two tracks: the blazing Fire and exhilarating Control (a feeling which is somewhat ironic given the track’s name).
While DJs Jamie Quinn and Brendan Collins’ back catalogue is certainly impressive, it’s the newer songs which require the most attention – not least because drum-and-bass has the potential to become repetitive and ‘samey’ over a long stretch of songs. Mystery Machine is as much a milestone for Quinn and Collins as it is an opportunity to further demonstrate how they tackle what can be a particularly challenging genre.
Alongside two mixes showing off the duo’s remixing ability, it falls to tracks such as Follow Me and This Time to offer a less intense DnB track. Here, the snares are delayed and the piano chords are pronounced and atmospheric. Elsewhere, Mystery Machine and Tardis come packed with interesting Knife Party influences – and this is despite bearing no relevance in style to the pop culture shows they reference.
Mystery Machine as a whole is an interesting assortment, but stumbles towards the end with the rushed and clumsy Ear Drum. A mishmash of different melody and tempos, there’s not much to catch your attention if you weren’t already lost by the staggering bass synth at the start. It’s clearly designed to be daring and creative, but that can only be respected to an extent, and when drum-and-bass as a genre prides itself on tight-knit tempos, Ear Drum fails to make an impact.
“It represents the full spectrum of Matrix & Futurebound,” the pair said on Twitter in the run up to Mystery Machine‘s release – and they’re not wrong. Long overdue, the duo’s sophomore is a fast-paced thrill ride through the upbeat and the gritty, and certainly does enough to generate intrigue, as the name suggests.
Mystery Machine is available to stream and download now.