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Never, Never, Land Special Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Sept. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Special Edition
  • Label: Universal / Island
  • ASIN: B0000C24KU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,058 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description


Like the end-of-season regenerations of Doctor Who, every new record from James Lavelle's UNKLE finds the musical project at the climax of some dramatic transmutation. Never, Never, Land is no exception. Soon after the release of 1999's Psyence Fiction, beats wizard DJ Shadow announced he'd never work as a member of UNKLE again--and accordingly, the first thing you notice about Never, Never, Land is the absence of his robust percussion. But once over that minor disappointment, it's not hard to wallow in this record's impressively dark scope.

With the aid of new collaborator Richard File, Lavelle has made a record that connects the dots between the creeping melancholy of Talk Talk, the scaly electronics of Massive Attack's Mezzanine and the grand sky-bound epics of the Verve. Like its predecessor, there's a proliferation of guest appearances: Jarvis Cocker, Josh Homme, Brian Eno, Ian Brown, Massive Attack's Robert del Naja. But the vocals are assimilated much more successfully here, ensuring that guest never overpowers song. Lavelle still has a fine eye for casting his songs in the grandest narratives: "Panic Attack" samples the robotic pulse of Joy Division's "She's Not Control" and overlays it with blurred electronic shimmers and driving bass. Mind you, it might be the understated numbers--"Glow", "Inside"--that provide some of the record's loveliest moments. --Louis Pattison

BBC Review

Four years on since Unkle's debut Psyence Fiction, music industry stalwart James Lavelle is back with a new album that promises much and delivers more. With his Mo' Wax label currently in hiatus, the timing for Unkle's return couldn't be better, generating some much needed interest in a scene that's drifted from the underground into the mainstream and then back into the shadows in consecutive years.

Richard File (vocalist, and one time drum 'n' bass aficionado) and songwriter Ant Genn, with Lavelle, now make up the trio. The set opens with the Norman Whitfield/Undisputed Truth-sampling "Eye For An Eye" (a recent UK hit) - the song's animated video recently winning the prestigious McLaren Award for animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

"Be There" gave the group their first top ten hit in 1999. It featured the adroit Ian Brown, who again joins the group for the symphonic odyssey, "Reign" - a beautifully constructed soundscape that also features Mani on bass; trivia fans note it's the first time the two have worked together since the hedonistic days of the Stone Roses.

Lavelle's pulling-power also attracts the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Brian Eno on the ethereal electronica of "I Need Something Stronger". Massive Attack's 3D contributes the dark and moody topline on "Invasion", while Queens Of The Stone Age front-man, Josh Homme, features on the stark, yet explosive "Safe In Mind" - surely a single contender.

Never, Never, Land confesses File, is "a clash of high and low emotions", none more so on the beautifully rich "In A State", with Cocker's soothing acoustic strumming working perfectly in unison with Graham Gouldman (of 10cc fame) unearthly vocal. Sasha liked the record so much that in a rare studio sortie he's turned it into an essential club item.

With titles like "Panic Attack", "Invasion", "Safe In Mind" and "What Are You To Me?", it could be argued that Never, Never, Land is drenched in paranoia. It is. So what? Like Radiohead's Kid A it is also rich in metaphors, kaleidoscopic beats, lush cinematic soundscapes and sonic textures that are worthy of your attention. --Jack Smith

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 27 Feb. 2004
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Screw what the magazines say (NME i am talking to you)and their Lavelle bashing. He's just trying to make music. And how. The new UNKLE album is indeed a superior beast. Opening with the irrepresible Ozzy Osbourne (he's going through changes), and leading onto Eye For an Eye, the tone has been set. This album is dark and abbrasive, but very, very beautiful. A dramatic change to the bitty and disorganized feel to Psyence Fiction, Never, Never, Land could not be more complete. The album feels dramatically cinematic and definitely has very dark undertones. The notion of 'Angels carrying savage weapons' definitely sums up the feel of the album. Where PF featured Shadow with his thumpingly hard percussion, the new album definitely has more of an electronic feel. Sweeping strings, acoustic guitars being blended into heavy electronic riffs, copious amounts of strings and a plethora of guests abound in this album. Although PF holds its own even today, NNL is an album for the future. While guests are plentiful, they never overwhelm. A lovely surprise on this album is the Jarvis Cocker and Brian Eno track. I dare you not to be sucked into it. Tracks like "What are you to me?", "In A State", and "I Need Something Stronger" add a subdued, dancy element to the album, whilst tracks like "Safe in Mind (featuring Joshe Homme from QOTSA)", "Panic Attack" and "Eye for an Eye" add a more intense feel. The final segment of the album really does deliver, just when you think they have reached their peak. "Invasion (featuring 3D from Massive Attack)" has an excellent Mezzaniney feel to it, with excellent trip-hop beats and scratches, the only one to do so on the whole album. "Reign (feat. Mani and Ian Brown from, well, you know where)" adds even more drama to an already dramatic performance.Read more ›
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