It's very rare that a debut album arrives so fully formed, so technically brilliant, so modestly convinced of its own excellence. The Chancer is such a superb exhibition of modern soul that it's near-guaranteed to appeal both to the streetwise fans of the likes of Young Disciples and the more mainstream followers of Sade and Simply Red. It would be easy to say the album's appeal lies mostly in the fabulous voice of singer Russell Nash. Sometimes sweet and breathy ("Just A Little Sign"), sometimes strained and troubled ("Time"), always articulate and unashamedly emotional, he clearly aims to match the deservedly iconic likes of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. And, intelligently restrained and never over-indulgent, he does not fall far short. But, though Nash is without doubt a vocal superstar-in-waiting, his backing is vital. Produced both by Nash (a multi-instrumentalist too) and programmer Steve "Tha 4orce" Ellington, this is a masterful mix of mournful strings, snappy contemporary beats, some unusually pretty acoustic guitars and a series of overlaid, overlapping backing vocals that are remarkable in their melody, harmony and poise. The Chancer is heartfelt and moving without being over-sentimental, considered without being patronising, smooth without ever becoming cloying and unarguably outstanding.
Nash apparently are no longer together. What a shame. This album is genius. It's a real grower, which I always think is the sign of a truly great album. On first listen, I couldn't quite work out what I felt about it. It didn't have an instantly catchy pop vibe and it was like listening to eight different genres. Then I played it again. And again. Soon it all clicked into place. Now I can't turn it off. This is an original, soulful, beautiful, exciting album, and one which I am now completely obsessed with. Come back Russell Nash. The world needs you.
I bought this album , funnily by 'chance'! After hearing the trailer for the Channel 4 comedy programme 'Scrubs', I had to find out who this band were. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
Right from the first play, to countless beyond, each track has instant impact. Like any classic album, this has no fillers.
First track 'Black box' is typical of this, displaying frontman Nash's vocal talents alongside DJ da4orce's rhythmic beats. Likewise, every track follows with similar passionate urgency.
For me, this is one of the best examples of British songwriting, a smooth but eclectic mix of different styles that many American counterparts shy away from.
In short, The Chancer is an album impossible to pigeon-hole, that resonates pure quality. Highly recommended.