Since moving to record label Def Jam, The Roots have commanded a heavier sound than ever before. Though this hindered 'Game Theory' only slightly, the band's latest offering is so dark, you question whether these were the same musical brains behind 2004's excellent Tipping Point. Last year, El-P's debut album was magnetic because it combined a moody subject with inventive music, full of samples, scratches and breakbeats. Black Thought seems intent on rapping about 'the hood', but his lyrics are met by a murky, tedious production. The repetitive use of 'niggas' on the grim '75 Bars' gets irritating, as do the interludes in the first half of the album. It takes until track 7, the brilliant groove of 'Criminal', to witness any moment of worthwhile musicianship. Tracks such as 'Singing Man', 'Lost Desire' and 'The Show' are particularly weak offerings, while 'Birthday Girl' sees the band unsuccessfully attempting the commercial but innovative creations of Outkast. 'Rising Up' nicely explores jazz arrangements, but this album is a far cry from definitive cuts such as 'Something In The Way Of Things' off 2002's Phrenology.