12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Thievery Make It Their Own,
This review is from: The Richest Man In Babylon (Audio CD)
The Richest Man In Babylon shows Thievery's style crystallised; the influences that have all been prominent on 'Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi' and 'The Mirror Conspiracy' are here made Thievery's own, being incorporated with Thievery's smooth measured breakbeats and synth atmospherics. The production is uniformly excellent and sounds even slicker than 'Mirror', and is more cohesive. Rob Garza and Eric Hiltons unflinching attention to detail is apparent everywhere.
The presentation has changed from 'Mirror's spying 'n' flying references - the outlook is more earthy, less technical. The CD came with a booklet of excellent black and white photojournalism images on good quality paper. The images feature people from areas which have inspired Thievery's music.
Their early dub style of 'Sounds' is most apparent in the 'Outernationist', and also appears in 'State of the Union' and the 'Richest Man in Babylon'. The title track is certainly the most commercial track here, featuring some Wailers style horns and a regular song structure.
The latin/bossa influence which came to the fore in 'Mirror' is represented by 'Meu Destino' and 'Exilo', both featuring male singing (as opposed to MCing) by Patrik De Santos and Verny Varela. The sound is lighter than previous Jazzanova-esque grooves such as 'Samba Tranquille'. 'Meu Destino' features nylon acoustic guitar by Ramon Gonzales.
Eastern music is represented by 'Facing East', and 'Interlude'. 'Facing East' features santur and tabla, and vocals, which are joined by a breakbeat a minute in.
However Thievery's strongest developing style is in the ambient-pop-breakbeat style which this album confirms as their trademark. The sublime, Cocteau Twins echoing 'Omid' is the direct descendant of the superb' Shadows Of Ourselves', LouLou singing on both. 'All That We Perceive' is sung by Thievery regular Pam Bricker, and bears resemblance to 'Lebanese Blonde', which she also appeared on.
'Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes', the first track, was initially a surprise in that it bears resemblance to Air with it's string machine and heavily compressed bass. Thieveryness is restored by a trademark breakbeat 2 minutes in. With repeated listening this sits well as an intro to the album.
There is a new direction in the form of Liberation Front, a funk track with excellent horns credited to Rick Harris. This is a standout track.
The only filler is From Creation, and this is not bad, just dull.
Is this a better album than 'The Mirror Conspiracy'? It is certainly more polished, easier to listen to in one sitting. 'The Richest Man In Babylon' is more able to put Thievery Corporation in the mainstream, and this is music that everyone should hear.