Additional personnel: Chris Lawson, Mike Thomas (guitar); De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Shirley Bassey, Corin.
"Take California" was nominated for the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
Propellerheads' DECKSANDDRUMSANDROCKANDROLL shows the techno genre for the cultural chemistry experiment it is--as each new element is dropped into the stew, it changes every other element and is itself changed. Able to use any sound source available, be it live or recorded, these modern scientists literally have all of musical history to work (or play) with. Sticking primarily to samples of musical instruments, each song goes in a new and different direction, sharing only the common denominator of cool, often jazzy drum loop backbeats and a devotion to explosive musical invention.
"Velvet Pants" melds multiple jazz tracks with vocal samples and scratches to create a frenetic, energetic atmosphere in a mix which redefines each of its constituent parts--The legendary Shirley Bassey saves the band a little wear and tear on their samplers by appearing in person--her soulful, chilling vocal provides the album with one of many standout tracks. De La Soul slows things down on "360 Degrees (Oh Yeah?)" with a mellow rap which is, in their own words, "Ol' School like Ed Koch." The Jungle Brothers provide tongue-twisting vocals on "You Want It Back," a fast-paced, sexy thrill ride.
Spin (6/98, p.129) - 7 (out of 10) - "...an unhesistatingly rhythmic update of incident-crammed '60s instrumental pop, working from a fond retroisim that ranges from James Bond films to the daft history of suit-and-tie radio voices....Utterly snappy and effortlessly inclusive, it zooms past crankier, knottier sources and antecedents...erasing the memory of less slick stuff..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/3/98, pp.91-92) - "...as with DJ-propelled records, some of DECKSANDRUMSANDROCKANDROLL is best heard in a club. But for guys who took for their name the derogatory slang for computer geeks, the Propellerheads don't need to get out more. They've created an entertaining world all their own." - Rating: A-
Alternative Press (5/00, p.120) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Dance Albums That Rock" - "...[They] took the Big Beat sound and turned it on its cliched ear, expanding the formula to include lush James Bond-type atmosphere...and real hip-hop artists...among other innovations..."
Vibe (5/98, p.138) - "...This disc, a relentless crush of soul, hip hop, and techno influences, is shaping up as one of the year's most coveted dance-floor releases..."
Melody Maker (1/17/98, p.36) - "Propellerheads cut through...like a silver sabre, bringing a style and imagination to the party that makes the superbly named DECKSANDRUMDANDROCKANDROLL a pure pleasure."