311

From Chaos

Written by: PP on 29/05/2009 04:49:56

Every now and then I dream of the day when my review pile drops to just three or four albums and I can finally focus on reviewing a bunch of great old albums that deserve more than just a obscure-but-honorable mention in some odd review in our review database. Realistically, that day's never going to arrive, so I might as well write an old review now since I haven't quite listened to the next couple of discs on my list enough to write a review on them just yet. So I give you "From Chaos", one of my all-time favorite records by a band that's criminally underrated considering the sheer volume of amazing albums they've put out since 1990: 311.

If 1999's "Soundsystem" saw 311 tone down the funk slightly and move towards rap rock/nu-metal, "From Chaos" basically picks up where it left off though the much loved funk/reggae element is still strongly represented on the record. The main reason I've always admired 311 is their ability to genre shift so seamlessly on the same record without making it sound like a total mess in the process, and "From Chaos" is perhaps the band's prime example of that ability. Here you have the rapped verses and crunchy guitars of "Full Ride" and "You Wouldn't Believe" (which is as good as nu-metal is ever going to get) that balance perfectly against the pure reggae/surf rock tracks like "Amber" and "Champagne" (the song with the strangely psychedelic DJ effects). The latter two you should know by sound even if you've never heard of 311, considering they are the two songs that elevated the band into mainstream attention, and also because they're just that good songs. Their relaxed and danceable (not in the disco sense however) reggae/ska-beats are perfect for taking the listener on mind trip to a sunny palm beach in Hawaii where hot bikini-clad babes stroll the beach with small umbrellas in their cocktails.

The interesting thing is that even the funk, reggae and surf rock tracks have rapped verses. I can see you rolling your eyes already, but honestly, even if you hate everything about nu-metal the chances are that you'll still feel the songs on "From Chaos". These tracks are individually just too strong to pass by without evoking some sort of emotion in you, they aren't at all like the truckload of crap from the nu-metal era. That is also why many avoid labeling the record nu-metal, and use terms like alternative rock, ska, reggae and surf rock (the latter of which describes this record the best in my opinion) instead to cut the band some slack. But whatever genre label you eventually decide to slap on "From Chaos", you won't get around the fact that you're dealing with a seminal album that should receive much more credit than it currently does.

Download: Amber, Champagne, You Wouldn't Believe
For the fans of: Pepper, Sublime, old Incubus, Alien Ant Farm
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.06.2001
Volcano Entertainment

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