CD Review of In Silico by Pendulum
Recommended if you like
The Klaxons; Prodigy;
Does It Offend You, Yeah
Altantic/Warner Music UK
Pendulum: In Silico

Reviewed by James B. Eldred


rum and bass fans are pricks -- it’s been cataloged and noted throughout time (or at least since the late ‘80s). Much like hardcore punk fans who base their lives on what Maximum Rock And Roll has to say, rabid DnB fans enjoy getting into pissing contests about which bands fit their incredibly narrow definition of a genre that should have really be qualified as a sub-genre of jungle in the first place.

So the Junglists and Bassheads who preach the gospel of the Amen Break are getting their raver pants in a bunch over Pendulum’s sophomore release, In Silico. Their debut album, Hold Your Colour, was lauded by hardcore electronic fans as the best album Prodigy never released, and featured insane breakbeats, batshit crazy MCs, and bass that would blow your brains out. However, it also featured live instrumentation and occasionally vocals from a dude who could actually sing. So maybe attacking Pendulum for abandoning their drum and bass ways on In Silico is a bit of stretch. And even if they are, is that such a bad thing? Especially when the result is this good?

In Silico is one of those rare hybrids of electronic and rock that actually works. It’s almost like the members of Pendulum had a meeting and made a chart of everything they like in drum and bass, rock, and just about every related genre, and decided to make a record with just that stuff. That means killer breakbeats, thrashing guitar solos, and catchy synth riffs. That also means no whiny ballads, no extended guitar solos and no brain-melting speedcore beats.


Their formula is working in other parts of the globe. “Propane Nightmares” is already a hit single across Europe and Australia (the band’s native country), and combines the high-energy beats of classic drum and bass with soaring synth melodies and wraps them both together in a package that should appease dance fans and hard rockers, thanks to its frantic, headbanger-friendly beat and solid vocals from frontman Rob Swire. The same goes for their follow-up single “Granite,” which also adds some lo-fi chiptone noises to the mix.

If the band tries for a third go at the singles charts, they should pick “Mutiny,” a jarring (in a good way) swing to the rock side of things with classic rock guitar coming head-to-head with whacked-out polyrhythmic beats straight out of a Goldie album in a battle to the death. Guitars break out with an early lead, and celebrate with a face-melting blues-rock solo. However, the victory is premature -- the beats come back en masse and obliterate the stringed instrument into the background for the rest of the track.

Pendulum are really living up to their name with In Silico, constantly swinging back and forth from one sound to another, from classic rock to dance, drum and bass to synthpop, house to pop. If only all bands could “sell out” this well.

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