Back in the confused days of 2010 I posted this, practically a love letter to Samuel & The Dragon, who I regarded as being certain to, at the very least, secure a position in the Cabinet for their adventurous, harrowing electronic pop. Today, in 2011 (in case you weren’t counting), I have been forced into a hasty and embarrassing verbal retreat that only Nick Clegg could match.
Who knows what happened, I’ve done enough hypothesising to know that it’s usually not very wise to get involved in that sort of thing; but I can maintain, and this is in no way a defence, that “Diamonds On A Boat” remains a piece of music that is amongst the most perfectly executed eccentric, left-field pop songs that I’ve come across.
I’m still hanging on for vindication, though, because Samuel has traded in his Dragon for bass producer and Hemlock Recordings founder Untold in a new project named Dreadnought. Without wanting to cause offense to the Dragon, Untold’s vessel-rupturing thuds that announce “By The Wire” are making it hard to get any more nostalgic. The menacing, languid vocals of Samuel Chase stake Dreadnought out as a dub-driven side project of The xx, or even an outlet for Thom Yorke’s dubstep obsession. If you think that sounds perfect on paper, wait until it’s in your ears.
It’s a logical progression; Samuel & The Dragon was always slightly leaning towards the influence of bassline and dubstep, and since we last heard from them dubstep has imploded in the UK, with major labels now searching for dubstep-pop crossovers – but it’s something that Samuel’s been doing for years. “By The Wire” just proves that he’s still doing it with more invention and character than his earnest contemporaries. Dreadnought’s incredible ‘Caroline EP’ is out now, exclusively on vinyl – and you can listen to the jaw-dropping title track below.