Never Never Land





Ahh, UNKLE. How can you go wrong with Wax label honcho James Lavelle? Mixmaster genius DJ Shadow is not along for the ride for the Never Never Land, and while on paper that sounds like the album will be weaker for it, NNL is actually stronger front to back, than its predecessor, Psyence Fiction. Yes, that record had guest appearances from Richard Ashcroft, Mike D, Thom Yorke and Badly Drawn Boy, but this one has collaborations with Josh Homme, Mani, 3D of Massive Attack, Ian Brown, Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker and Joel Cadbury of South. the heavy hitters are on board, but the one factor than may have tipped the scales in favor of UNKLE 2003 is Lavelleís new tag team buddy, Richard File. File provides vocals on a handful of songs, adding his lilting Britpop-balladeer style singing to his and Lavelleís masterful programming to great effect. Plus, all the creepy and entertaining samples are ever-present, adding to the depth of the tracks. Thereís hardly a dull song in the bunch, with the cream of the crop being the dark and sinister Homme-led ìSafe In Mind (Please Get This Gun Out Of My Face),î the half of Stone Roses reunion that is ìReign,î and Cadburyís vocal gem, ìGlow.î Perhaps the two best tracks are ones File himself sings, the beauteous ìIn A Stateî and the synth-fuelled bad dream state of ìPanic Attack.î From opening note to the final echoes, Never Never Land is a masterful piece of art and reaches the heights that the promise of the initial UNKLE vehicle never fulfilled. Merely brilliant.

UNKLE
Mo Wax/Island

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Never Never Land