3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Mind Elevation (Audio CD)
Following the much-lauded down-tempo classics of 'Smokers Delight' (1995) and 'Carboot Soul' (1999), NoW return with a slightly more rounded sound and perhaps their most 'complete' record to date. Certainly, it all starts off promisingly, opener 'Mind Eye' as catchy and chilled a tune as you're likely to hear this year. Things proceed in a similar vein, but at times you can't help but feel that something's just holding them back - great ideas abound, yet somehow they don't always quite seem to come to fruition.
However, whilst this may mean that some tracks flounder a little as standard genre fair ('Thinking of Omara' might have been lifted off any Thievery Corporation release), NoW creative force George Evelyn has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to ensure that, though not always lifting the mind to new levels, things don't descend to chillout-by-numbers. Not least among these is the development of poppier sensibilities on tracks such as 'Date with Destiny' and single release 'Know my Name'. Sadly, whilst the latter is plenty pleasing, the former - a bubbly slice of Rae & Christian-esque hiphop - just doesn't sit quite right (an accusation that might also be labelled at the darker 'Environment'). Yet such mediocrities are forgiven as '70s 80s' unwinds as a simply sublime, gently shuffling piece of 20-something nostalgia ("Jim, could you fix it for me - remember that?").
This new direction dovetails pretty nicely with the more familiar horizintal sounds - 'BBH (Bongo-Brk-Haven)' stands out with the sort of supremely chilled beats Evelyn's renowned for, and helps ensure that - as things wind down deliciusly over the last few tracks - it all makes for a pretty tasty experience. 'Mind Elevation' might not make it to classic status, but neither should it do NoW's reputation any harm.
The bonus CD that comes with the limited edition isn't bad either...