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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This isnt Pysence Fiction 2
When i bought this record i had just found out that it was Richard File partnerning James Lavelle and not the mighty Dj Shadow. My first thoughts were negative as i hadnt really heard of Richard File and i really enjoyed Pysence Fiction.
But as soon as i had heard this album in full i was complety turned around on the matter. Never never land is nothing like...
Published on 27 Feb 2004 by shony27

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On point - or atleast getting there..
This is a pretty spectacular package, all told. Yet, UNKLE’s second album is bound to invite a host of negative reactions. Ranging from, ‘isn’t this all just a bit too pretentious?” to, ‘perhaps all this slick packaging disguises a lack of ideas’ and, ‘what’s UNKLE without DJ Shadow?’
The last suggestion, whilst...
Published on 26 Oct 2003 by moog_man


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This isnt Pysence Fiction 2, 27 Feb 2004
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
When i bought this record i had just found out that it was Richard File partnerning James Lavelle and not the mighty Dj Shadow. My first thoughts were negative as i hadnt really heard of Richard File and i really enjoyed Pysence Fiction.
But as soon as i had heard this album in full i was complety turned around on the matter. Never never land is nothing like Pysence Fixtion and it never tries to be, without Dj Shadows moody beats Never never land takes on a complety diiferent sound, a dramatic sound it still has UNKLEs trademark samples on hand though. Every track on never never land has something different on offer from the ambient synths from ''i need something stronger'' to the fast paced beats in ''Eye for an Eye''.
My highlight is ''Reign''. With Mani and Ian brown reuntied for the first time since the stone roses it packs a powerful punch. The quick strings at the start mixed with the classic Brown Vocals built up to an explosion of sound and the finish is breathtaking allowing Mani to take control and delivering one of the most catchy and heavy bass riffs ive heard in a long time.
All in all if your looking for a repeat of UNKLEs debut this isnt it. The only similarity between the two is an allstar guestlist, never never land taking the likes of Josh Homme, Jarvis Cocker,Ian brown,mani and 3D on.But if anything this is better than its predecessor and is a much easy listen.
This is a brilliant album and any fan of this genre should own it but to fans of UNKLEs previous work this is not Pysence Fiction 2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something exceedingly special, 25 Sep 2003
By 
R. Baxter (Lancaster UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: UNKLE (Audio CD)
This is something very special indeed.
This is UNKLE to epic proportions. The case is epic, the art is epic, the music is epic.
The whole thing opens up like some kind of nuclear bunker, or a sci-fi artefact to save the human race. It all fits together and opens up with a satisfying chunkiness that can only be described as cathartic. Once you have admired the layout, and stopped drooling over the CD\DVD combination, pop one of them in and prepare yourself…
It’s not exactly what I was expecting. I recognised a few backing beats and layers from Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beats? and Big Brother Is Watching you, but rather than a sense of a re-hash, it gives a fantastic feeling of EVOLUTION to the proceedings. Indeed, if Psyence Fiction was a little unsure of its own boldness, Never Never Land seems to relish in its dark, sweeping, head-first approach. It doesn’t care that it defines genres, for who needs labels?
It is noticeable that DJ Shadow left the partnership, with the album result being more 100th Window and Furious Angels than Private Press. The fantastic thing is though, is that it is STILL UNKLE. Lavelle has done a fantastic job and pushing through with an album that takes on a new meaning when put together. The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts.
Let’s not forget though, that the parts are all exquisitely executed. The bonus DVD is fab, the album is simply fantastic, the packaging is superb.
Never Never Land sets itself apart from the world and is strong enough to take it all on. Buy this. Buy it now.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNKLE in 'how to do a good follow up album' exercise!, 24 Sep 2003
By 
Simon J. Whight "fourfourfun" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
So UNKLE go on, post Shadow. Those of you fearing a dip in UNKLE quality have no need to worry. The same space age mood and tone carries through to this album, and (dare I say it) actually sits together and flows much better than Psyence Fiction. Lavelles stints as Fabric resident has definately influenced his sound, the moody hip hop and indie sound is now blended with some uptempo breaks and house ... but none of the tracks can be pigeonholed into one style, its just something completely different. Its UNKLE. For those of you who have managed to pick up the UNKLEsounds mix Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beats?, some themes might sound familiar on this album. An Eye For An Eye has been expanded on, larger bass, added vocals, a wonderful epic intro to the album. In A State mixes synths, beats and guitars, wonderfully moody. Apparently the next track up for a single release too with Sasha at the controls of the remix. Safe In Mind has an evil growling bass to it, thrashing drums then I Need Something Stronger takes your right back down into Vangelis/Bladerunner style swirling ambience. What Are You To Me? ... well personally I think this should be released as a single. Wonderful sunset bliss style soundtrack. Soft vocals, gentle guitars and piano, house beats. Uplifting house music that reminds you of the good old days. Panic Attack has an appropriate urgent feel to it, harsh synths, urgent breaks. Invasion has a very dark and menacing Massive Attack feel to it, quality. Reign features Ian Brown and sounds like a much better version of the UNKLE version of his own Fear track. Pacy breaks action again. Glow and Inside round off the album, melacholic and chilled. And we're lucky enough to get Awake The Unkind as a bonus track with its almost Doves/Pounding style banging percussion.
I think its a great follow-up. So NME have given it a bashing have they? I wouldn't worry, its probably because it hasn't got Sir Josh of Davis on board for this album and its not 'hip' enough for them. Give it a try, the big melting pot of indie/dance has produced another wonder album. The collaborations never overshadow the tracks underneath, and it just feels like it might age better than Psyence Fiction.
Once again, if you like this, try and search out what James Lavelle has been doing on the side inbetween albums. The wicked, if hard to find, 3 CD mix which is Do Androids Dream Of Electric Beats? (featuring some exclusive remixes of UNKLE tracks, UNKLE remixes of everything from Vangelis to The Beatles plus tracks from Dancelands finest), Global Underground Barcelona showcases Lavelles recent exposure to house and breaks and his new found passion for it, and FabricLIVE01, the first in the series with Lavelle showcasing many of the talents that no doubt ended up influencing him for this album. Oh, and do check the singles for Never Never Land, some top remixers from Tyrant, Meat Katie and Sasha (for the upcoming (In A State) are being drafted in. Roll on the UNKLE machine!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On point - or atleast getting there.., 26 Oct 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: UNKLE (Audio CD)
This is a pretty spectacular package, all told. Yet, UNKLE’s second album is bound to invite a host of negative reactions. Ranging from, ‘isn’t this all just a bit too pretentious?” to, ‘perhaps all this slick packaging disguises a lack of ideas’ and, ‘what’s UNKLE without DJ Shadow?’
The last suggestion, whilst remaining popular currency is harshly unfair. It limits the possibility of progress and continued collaborations, which is UNKLE’s concept, surely? Collaborator, Richard File deserves some props here – he shares equal writing credits on all the songs, for starters. His delicacy introduces a whole new dimension to the ‘UNKLE’ sound. Secondly, Lavelle has always made a point of the design element with his Mo’ Wax releases. If only more musicians and labels paid as much attention, we’d be enjoying a richer all-round experience. And firstly, creativity is invariably associated with pretension in the name of progress. Lavelle may well be the music industry’s Peter Greenaway, and Greenaway’s movies always court polarised reactions and intense debate. Lavelle is not Tarantino. True, both auteurs are masters at blurring genres, but Lavelle does not give people what they already want. For that, we should be grateful.
But does any of that make for a good album?
CD.
This album takes several listens. And Shadow fans should seek the side exit now. It’s not about ‘Psyence Fiction’, so get over it. Yes, it’s dark and introspective. And, yes, it has the cinematic element, with its borrowed narratives and snatched samples. They all lend drama to the overall texture. But, five years down the line – and a long-standing residency at Fabric – has resulted in Lavelle broadening the repertoire. At the closing parties in Ibiza (Sept, ’03), Deep Dish dropped Sasha’s remix of ‘In A State’ to a captive dancefloor. Who would have thought it? That would have been anathema circa ‘Psyence Fiction’. This doesn’t represent dilution to the masses; it suggests advances in UNKLE’s appeal. The first single, ‘Eye To Eye’ pales in comparison, lacking the finesse and intelligence of ‘In A State’. The collaborations – Josh Homme on ‘Safe In Mind’, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja on ‘Invasion’, and also ‘Panic Attack’ with its judicious use of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ all offer up a similar polish without compromising its integrity.
Standout tracks? Actually, the ones that don’t touch dance music. The poignant guitar ballad, ‘Glow’, featuring Joel Cadbury transcends Turin Brakes’ weak second album syndrome. Similarly, File’s questioning, ‘What Are You To Me?’ The lush string arrangements of ‘Inside’, which would have sufficed as the closing track. ‘I Need Something Stronger’, despite contributions from Jarvis Cocker and Brian Eno may not garner the recognition it’s due. It’s one of those tracks you just wish would go on forever. The Orb would certainly have been proud to come up with something like this in their heyday. ‘Awake The Unkind’ is somewhat mediocre as a closing track. ‘Inside’ would have been the perfect conclusion to this album, inviting reflection of everything prior – just as any good DJ does at the end of an epic set.
DVD.
The DVD features two vids and a mini-film of Futura painting the now iconic UNKLE sci-fi creatures. The other tracks are extra mixes, some of the originals appearing on the CD. Of these, ‘Hey Jack’ is a rather aimless meander, and ‘Blackout’ isn’t much better, just darker.
Visually, the Shynola promo for ‘Eye For An Eye’ successfully unfolds a story that progresses from light and innocence into dark and macabre. From divine Utopia to a destructive dystopia in 6 minutes. Truly Genius. ‘Tracier’ offers some beautiful ambient imagery – albeit brief - that might look good as background eye candy in a hip bar environment. Of the three videos, the Futura film manages to be both interesting and annoying in equal doses. Close observers will note that Futura manages an astonishing three costume changes. Keepin’ it real, man, eh? Still, the opportunity to observe art in action is absorbing, even if the mirror-image visual effects becomes overused to the point of frustration. The soundtrack (‘Enemy’) is seriously powerful with its fierce growling bassline progressing into some great breakbeat and will have the clubbing fraternity wanting to know about release dates. The film ends well with the now-animated creatures walking off-screen. But just before this, there’s a single shot of an UNKLE member fast asleep in his armchair. Sort of says it all, unfortunately!
Lavelle has said that he wanted to produce an album that took the elements of dance music and culminated in a non-dance album. This isn’t pretentious, this is moving things along. Give the man his dues. There is a developing maturity here that most critics have chosen to ignore. It seems they want blood for Shadow’s departure. Instead, they’ve been dished a dose of sensitivity. This is the media’s loss, not yours. Try it and see. If nothing else, you will appreciate that UNKLE – in whatever configuration is atleast pushing at the boundaries. It may not always work, it’s refreshing to know that people are still committed enough to put their heads on the block in an industry growing ever more reliant upon homogeneity.
Although the above comments aren’t entirely supportive, I still find myself going back to this CD each day, unravelling more and more layers each time. In a way, I hope I don’t ever get to the bottom of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars James Does Well, 22 Oct 2003
By 
Mr. Abbas Rana "abbas_rana" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
On the last album, Unkle was James Lavelle and DJ Shadow. This time it's Lavelle working with Richard File and the difference is noticeable. Gone are the raw hip-hop beats which Shadow was largely responsible for and there isn't that tension between fitting in both melancolic indie tracks and b-boy rap as was the case on Psyence Fiction.
Overall, it's a fairly good album and there are signs of Lavelle and File's musical genius. 'In A State' is a fine track laced with moody vocals yet uplifting percussions. In contrast 'Eye for an Eye' sort of stumbles along with big drums and more haphazardous vocals. At times, a couple of the tracks such as 'I Need Something Stronger' and 'Awake The Unkind' seem to get tragically lost in a sea of strings, drums and bass and lack the cutting edge or magic that was found in the first album. It leaves you feeling frustrated and even guilty for not being able to get into them.
Having said that, things get more uplifting near the end of 'What You Are To Me' when catchy beats set in. 'Panic Attack' sees the return of Ian Brown-esque vocals and it's on songs like this that Unkle do well; breakbeats sitting comfortably with haunting vocals against a backdrop of Bond-esque melodies. 3D makes an appearance on Invasion and is produced very much in the same vein as 100th Window, which is nice.
It takes time but it's an album you will grow to like. However, Lavelle is in danger of getting too carried away with trying to sound different from everyone else. There's more emphasis on creating moods rather than producing quality melodies. But I'm just a humble music fan and not an experienced producer like Lavelle who will know infinitely more about music than I! Still, it's worth a buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On point - or atleast getting there.., 26 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
This is a pretty spectacular package, all told. Yet, UNKLE’s second album is bound to invite a host of negative reactions. Ranging from, ‘isn’t this all just a bit too pretentious?” to, ‘perhaps all this slick packaging disguises a lack of ideas’ and, ‘what’s UNKLE without DJ Shadow?’
The last suggestion, whilst remaining popular currency is harshly unfair. It limits the possibility of progress and continued collaborations, which is UNKLE’s concept, surely? Collaborator, Richard File deserves some props here – he shares equal writing credits on all the songs, for starters. His delicacy introduces a whole new dimension to the ‘UNKLE’ sound. Secondly, Lavelle has always made a point of the design element with his Mo’ Wax releases. If only more musicians and labels paid as much attention, we’d be enjoying a richer all-round experience. And firstly, creativity is invariably associated with pretension in the name of progress. Lavelle may well be the music industry’s Peter Greenaway, and Greenaway’s movies always court polarised reactions and intense debate. Lavelle is not Tarantino. True, both auteurs are masters at blurring genres, but Lavelle does not give people what they already want. For that, we should be grateful.
But does any of that make for a good album?
This album takes several listens. And Shadow fans should seek the side exit now. It’s not about ‘Psyence Fiction’, so get over it. Yes, it’s dark and introspective. And, yes, it has the cinematic element, with its borrowed narratives and snatched samples. They all lend drama to the overall texture. But, five years down the line – and a long-standing residency at Fabric – has resulted in Lavelle broadening the repertoire. At the closing parties in Ibiza (Sept, ’03), Deep Dish dropped Sasha’s remix of ‘In A State’ to a captive dancefloor. Who would have thought it? That would have been anathema circa ‘Psyence Fiction’. This doesn’t represent dilution to the masses; it suggests advances in UNKLE’s appeal. The first single, ‘Eye To Eye’ pales in comparison, lacking the finesse and intelligence of ‘In A State’. The collaborations – Josh Homme on ‘Safe In Mind’, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja on ‘Invasion’, and also ‘Panic Attack’ with its judicious use of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ all offer up a similar polish without compromising its integrity.
Standout tracks? Actually, the ones that don’t touch dance music. The poignant guitar ballad, ‘Glow’, featuring Joel Cadbury transcends Turin Brakes’ weak second album syndrome. Similarly, File’s questioning, ‘What Are You To Me?’ The lush string arrangements of ‘Inside’, which would have sufficed as the closing track. ‘I Need Something Stronger’, despite contributions from Jarvis Cocker and Brian Eno may not garner the recognition it’s due. It’s one of those tracks you just wish would go on forever. The Orb would certainly have been proud to come up with something like this in their heyday. ‘Awake The Unkind’ is somewhat mediocre as a closing track. ‘Inside’ would have been the perfect conclusion to this album, inviting reflection of everything prior – just as any good DJ does at the end of an epic set.
Lavelle has said that he wanted to produce an album that took the elements of dance music and culminated in a non-dance album. This isn’t pretentious, this is moving things along. Give the man his dues. There is a developing maturity here that most critics have chosen to ignore. It seems they want blood for Shadow’s departure. Instead, they’ve been dished a dose of sensitivity. This is the media’s loss, not yours. Try it and see. If nothing else, you will appreciate that UNKLE – in whatever configuration is atleast pushing at the boundaries. It may not always work, it’s reassuring to know that people are still committed enough to put their heads on the block in an industry growing ever more reliant upon homogeneity.
Although the above comments aren’t entirely supportive, I still find myself going back to this CD each day, unravelling more and more layers each time. In a way, I hope I don’t ever get to the bottom of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A filthy dark affair, welcome back!, 15 Sep 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
Wow, well its been a while since Unkles last album and they haven't failed to come up with the goods. Its not an immediate album, and it can be hard going at times, but if you do put in the effort you will be rewarded with a beautifully constructed album. This can be a very dark album dependent on your view of things, it is very much an electronica melting pot, with the foundations built on my either hip hop type beat or 4/4, if anything this will always keep you on your toes. It is a journey of an album in opposition to many albums that have definite single release potential but this is really a complete body of work that needs to be listened to one track after another. Their are some solid collaborations on this album one by 3d of massive attack fame, also the monkey king himself Ian Brown. The album itself is well worth the cash no problem, it is a very personal album, dark and introverted I just hope they all go out on tour with it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moody but chilled, 30 Sep 2003
This review is from: UNKLE (Audio CD)
This album follows on from where psyence fiction left off, the collection of songs is not as varied as previously and there is nothing as good as lonely souls on here but nothing as bad as the track with Mike D.
The dvd edition comes in a fantastic box with a card pull out with the cd and dvd and an enlarged version of the cd inlay inside, the proportions are that of a dvd. The dvd contains 6 tracks, they all have much more of an old unkle feel like the early headz stuff except eye for an eye which seems identical to the version on the cd. Three of the tracks have films with them, and three have futura paintings as back drops with the music playing, which was alittle dissapointing. The highlight is the hope street session where you get to see futura at work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 19 Feb 2004
By 
Mr. J. T. D. Lewis "360ite" (Newport , South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
I got hold of a copy of the DVD box set of this album. I have the previous masterpiece by UNKLE and was aware that DJ SHadow was not a part of this work.
Jaw dropping
From the hidden track at the start (skip back past track 1)
to "Awake The Unkind" , this cd is a serious contender for album of the year.
"Eye for an eye" kicks off with the wonderful strong riff and beats that get in your head.. "run run run but you still can't hide..." you'll be singing that for weeks...
and the tracks get better and better. It was played 3 times through on the first listen, and once ripped to my xbox, now is the permanent score for GTA3. Try it.
you'll love it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Album, 6 Nov 2003
This review is from: Never, Never, Land (Audio CD)
This is not a great album, it is a good one. Do Androids Dream Electric beats and the shorter mix, Big Brother is Watching You, have greater scope, variety and interest than Never Never Land, although unfortunately both of these mixes are rare and have never receive the sort of exposure Psyence Fiction and now Never Never Land have. And having been listening to these and FABRIC LIVE - 01 for a number of years the music here does not sound as fresh or as ground breaking as Psyence Fiction did. However, this is a very well produced album (as all James Lavelle's work is) and the new vocal-driven sound does stand up to repeated listenings. 'Eye for an Eye' is probably the stand out track, followed by 'Panic Attack' and 'Glow'. The range of samples and guests here works well, but again, the pioneering work Lavelle has done since Psyence Fiction does over shadow this somewhat (the remix of Mercury Rev's 'Holes' and 'Rabbit in Your Headlights' at the end of the 'Tai Mix' on DADEB are among the greatest dance tracks ever made). Never Never Land hangs together nicely as an album but UNKLE lost the edgy sound of 'Psyence Fiction' when Josh Davis left; the overwhelming feeling you are left with here is one of pleasant warmth (albeit with the uneasiness of 'Panic Attack')- UNKLE used to be about more than that.
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