Having produced some of the most enduring trance anthems in the genre’s history during the first chapter of his career, veteran producer Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane, has been coasting as of late, and sadly, his sixth studio effort, The Sum of its Parts, adds further weight to the theory that his best days are behind him.
The follow-up to 2012’s Thousand Mile Stare offers a few flashes of the brilliance that made the 43-year-old such a Balearic favorite during the mid-late 90s – the ethereal collaboration with The Voice UK runner-up Bo Bruce (“Still With Me”) and the retro house of “One More Time” are certainly worthy of gracing any future Best Of compilation, even if the latter blatantly borrows the synth hook from JX’s club classic, “There’s Nothing I Won’t Do.”
However, the majority of The Sum of its Parts sounds like Chicane on autopilot, with a string of formulaic and cynical attempts to gatecrash the EDM scene (“No More I Sleep,” “Fibreglasses”) and a handful of aimless chillout numbers lacking the melodic hooks that made the likes of “Offshore” and “Sunstroke” such bona fide classics.
Taking on the unlikely guest star role previously occupied by Bryan Adams, Tom Jones and Clannad’s Maire Brennan, Lisa Gerrard (the former Dead Can Dance frontwoman best-known for her Golden Globe-winning contribution to the Gladiator soundtrack) struggles to elevate the Vangelis-lite “38 Weeks” and “Orleans” above mediocre, while ex-BBMak pin-up Christian Burns (“One Thousand Suns,” “Photograph”) and newcomer Paul Aiden (“Oxygen,” “Motion”) are also lumbered with similarly pedestrian fare.
Chicane’s status as a trance legend was already assured more than a decade ago, but The Sum of its Parts suggests that he simply has nothing else to offer.