Wow!!! What a beautiful album! It starts out simply with a string section playing a chord progression in "Battersea". Then, a fast trip hop rhythm enters, but it sounds a little awkward with the slow progression of the strings. Finally, the vocals come in and I am blown away. The voice, heavily layered with echoes, blends in perfectly with the other instruments and makes this song incredible.
The rest of the album keeps up the pace of the first song and blends together beautifully. The weak voice of the female singer and the softness of the pads and strings allow for a smooth, pleasant sound. Weak female voices are much too popular in electronica and are rarely used well, but like Portishead, Hooverphonic knows how to use the vocals.
One of the problems with the album is that Hooverphonic relied too heavily on strings and ambience to make a good sound, but hey, if it works, it works. Even so, there are songs like "Electro Shock Faders", which seem to be nothing special at all, so they layer it heavily with strings. There are also songs where the strings are indispensible, like "Battersea" and "Eden". Another gripe with the album is that the female vocals do not fit the music well in a few songs, like in "Lung" and "This Strange Effect".
However, it does work for a majority of the songs. These small problems do not detract significantly from the album. The fact
is that this album is one of my favorite albums to listen to. It is not terribly diverse, but the music is great. My rating is actually a 4.5 because this is not a perfect album, but I can guarantee that you will like it if you like the cool grooves of artists like Portishead and Morcheeba.