One word: WOW. Dance-rock duo James Lavelle and Richard File have excelled themselves on this, UNKLE's latest opus. Dirty great guitar riffs... top-notch guest spots... even the odd dance-floor filler... you really couldn't ask for much more. Enlisting the likes of Masters of Reality man/stoner-rock uber-producer Chris Goss and recording tracks at the Rancho de la Luna studio in the Californian desert has clearly played a major part in the way this album sounds, giving it an ethereal quality without forsaking the trademark dark, hypnotic vibe. The vocal lines provided by the likes of Josh Homme (QOTSA), Ian Astbury (The Cult) and Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit) are strong and memorable in their own right, while Gavin Clark's inclusion on penultimate track, 'Broken' is simply inspired. Somewhat less spectacular are the contributions from Massive Attack's 3D and Autolux but thankfully, they don't detract from the overall enjoyment of the album.
A tad over-long at 14 tracks (including the 14 minute finale, 'When Things Explode') War Stories is nevertheless like good quality dark chocolate: rich and flavoursome, with a distinct and pleasingly bitter edge.