Chances are at some point in your life, you've found yourself working out to a track by The Crystal Method. Even if you didn't know that's who put the getup in your step to push that last mile, or finish out your set, TCM was there.
The latest marketing juggernaut from the folks that brought you the ipod, and your air jordans, Nike + is an interesting concept. Basically, you already take your music with you when you work out, now you get to have one extra accessory attached, and possibly buy new shoes to go with it. With this new product, you buy a transmitter, a pedometer, that sends your workout stats to your ipod nano. How could this possibly apply to The Crystal Method you ask?
Drive is the latest album from the duo that brought us Get Busy Child (Vegas) and at least twenty other tracks used in movies when the slow motion hits. The idea with this album is a little different from their last studio album, the Grammy award winning Legion of Boom. Whereas previously the tracks are meant to stand on their own, this album is meant to played straight through, for the entire 45 minutes.
As electronica wanes in popularity due to the glut of mainstream artists (Madonna, Cher, Britney, any pop song where the video was shot in an urban atmosphere) some of the premier artists of the genre let their sound evolve. Artists like the Chemical Brothers started borrowing from hip hop two albums ago, while some like Paul Oakenfold push further into the pounding designs of trance. The Crystal Method seem to have found a commercial way to continue making music, as evidenced by their recent soundtrack work (London) and this album, which is geared toward selling shoes an ipods.
If you've heard a single track from TCM in the past, there's a good chance you'll like Drive. As their first album to be offered exclusively through itunes (again, selling more ipods) Drive is an interesting mix of their old sounds, and samples from their latest non-studio work. Roadhouse Blues, a remix of the classic Doors track, is a track looking for a car commercial; hypnotic yet melodic enough to not entirely piss of Jim Morrison fans.
Very few of the tracks on this album stand out as individual, but that lends itself to marketing push, that you work out straight through the entire album. The only other track that really is individual is Glass Breaker, a reworking of the track featured on the London soundtrack. Once you get a look at the track listing, you can't help but laugh a little. From titles that should inspire pure pulse pounding excretion like Starting Line, Its Time, Don't Stop, and Finish Line, to seeming corporate references Do It and Brand New Kicks, the boys at the decks surely must be playing with their mostly hardcore audience. The third track, It Hertz, is so strangely titled its good.
The Crystal Method has found a formula, and it has resulted in some solid sounds. Its a shame the formula seems so limiting. Consistency is a strength for these two from California, here's hoping the next album evolves their sound a little. For now, keep blasting those quads with your headphones in. Adrenaline pimping music never sounded so consistent.