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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Coming to a Wine Bar near you
on 25 September 2002
It is true that Thievery Corporation's sound has certainly fleshed out from it's early beginnings on 'Sounds From the Thievery Hi-Fi'. The follow up, 'Mirror Conspiracy', was a great record that blended modern Electronica and World Music into a well balanced sound. So what now? Have they bettered 'Mirror Conspiracy'? Are Thievery Corporation going to takeover the World with their quality blend? Well, may be part of it.
What strikes me about this album is it's songs' similarities to 'Mirror Conspiracy', in two years the sound has not really progressed at all and is really just a continuation of more of the same. It feels as though it's had a bit more money thrown at it with more guest artists and vocalists but it still follows the same themes, instrumentation and, in some cases, melodies.
One criticism of Thievery Corporation is that it is very Coffee Table. It is inoffensive, it's a bleached and westernised version of ethnic music and it's oh so very 'cosmopolitan'. So very cosmopolitan that it is bound to be played during dinner parties, in coffee shops and in trendy wine bars everywhere. This is what puts me off. The music has got so polished and formulaic in it's approach that it has lost it's initial exciting edge. Although pleasant it has no real spark.
To be fair to the album it has it's good points with the opening 'Heavens Gonna Burn Your Eyes', 'Meu Destino', 'State of the Union' and title track, 'The Richest Man in Babylon'. It also features the unusual vocal talents of Emiliana Torrini which adds a little bit of interest to the well buffed sound. So it's not all doom and gloom.
The thing is that there's nothing really wrong with this album and if you've NOT got 'Mirror Conspiracy' then buy 'Richest Man in Babylon' but if your a fan of previous work it may seem all a bit flat.