Rae and Christian suffer from some serious sophomore-slumpin' in "Sleepwalking." While their second studio release is not even close to bad -- actually it's fairly good -- it suffers from a lack of new ideas, and some Pharcyde songs that stick out like sore, bloody thumbs.
It opens with a swippy hip-hop intro, "Blazing the Crop," an entertaining little number with what sounds like panpipes. What follows is alternately satisfactory and hilarious, with everything from outrageously genteel falsettos to swooning trip-ballads featuring Kate Rogers and Tania Maria, as well as the trippy, smoldering "Trailing in the Wake."
Unfortunately, there are two songs by the Pharcyde that simply don't fit in with the smoother, mellower hip-hop. "Let It Go" and "It Ain't Nothing Like" meander aimlessly through mellow beats, sounding jagged and uncomfortable. Perhaps it would have been better back in the "Bizarre Ride II" era, but here they sound overworn. And the legendary Bobby Womack does a good job, but it feels like Rae and Christian weren't quite sure how to use his talents.
Rae and Christian broke some new ground with "Northern Sulphuric Soul," a delightful acid hip-hop album. There, they made new inroads and breathed some fresh life into the subgenre. But here, they feel like they are on autopilot... or even worse, out of inspiration.
Fortunately they do turn out some very good material, mostly the layered downtempo numbers, and the hilarious number with the Congos: "Like putting one foot right in front of the othah," in an intensely posh voice over some trippy hip-hop beats. And Rae and Christian duet well with the female singers on here, including the soaring finale with Siron.
Unfortunately, they forge no new territory with "Sleepwalking," and the album is burdened with some songs that should have been cut. Fortunately it redeems itself with some beautiful downtempo songs.