Top critical review
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It has its moments but it's disappointing
on 8 July 2007
UNKLE have found a little niche for themselves as the 'real'-sounding band that dance music fans like myself can like. Partly that's due to the epic production values, partly that's due to UNKLE's ongoing fantastic selection of remixers and remixes to support their releases- their previous album "Never Never Land" spawned so many re-versions that they ended up getting released as a 4CD set in their own right.
With this album though they may have taken a step too far in the Radiohead direction that beats & breaks fans won't appreciate so much. The UNKLE sound is still there- rich orchestration, complex drums, melancholic melodies- but what one of the other reviewers has called "mature" I'd call "passionless". The whole thing just has a slight hint of resignedness that makes it, for me, not as good as "Never Never Land" was.
As I was particularly disappointed with the vocal guest appearances, then I was happy to get the limited edition 2CD version which includes a second disc containing all the instrumental versions of the songs on the first disc, in the same order. I have a feeling that disc two is the one I'll be going back to repeatedly.
I'm also looking forward to hearing some of these tracks being remixed.
However on the limited edition 2CD version, the packaging is TERRIBLE. Really, really poor. It is a chunky "what shelf will that go on?" box that is badly designed so that the inner part wedges awkwardly. The CDs don't sit properly in their 'slots'. The tracklist is printed onto the outer vacuum-plastic that you have to destroy in order to open it- why?! Music aside, UNKLE albums have had some awful packaging.
If you like this album, try also Rob Dougan's "Furious Angels" album.