NEVER, NEVER LAND
ALBUM MO'WAX, UNIVERSAL RELEASE:
OCTOBER 20, 2003 REVIEW: JANUARY 10, 2004
oh! An Unkle-album without DJ Shadow. That sounds like a Radiohead record
without Thom Yorke, a Fields of the Nephilim-album without Carl McCoy
or, for that matter, an album by Massive Attack with 3D as the only remaining
wait, there is a reason behind this review, although late: "Never,
Never Land" is actually quite good. Instead of DJ Shadow, James Lavelle
has brought along Richard File (who has produced and remixed Garbage and
Stina Nordenstam, amongst others), which gives the record a flair of electronica.
File even sings on a couple of tracks, sounding a bit like Thom Yorke,
actually. And the rest of the posse Lavelle has rounded up for this excursion
is also quite impressive. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Brian Eno and Josh Homme
– giving us both one of the best songs on the album on "Safe
in Mind" and at the same time one of the best performances in his
career. Robert "3D" del Naja also sings on one track –
passable "Invasion" – and all in all only Thom Yorke,
DJ Shadow and Beastie Boys are the ones you miss from formidable "Psyence
Fiction". As artists, that is. You also miss the diversity of the
last album. Where "Psyence Fiction" ranged from hard rock and
hip hop to electronica and trip hop, "Never, Never Land" stays
firmly in the middle of the somewhat trippy but mostly electronic and
ambient motorway, making the ride maybe less bumpy, but the scenery a
tad bit dull at times. Heck, you are even lured to sleep from time to
time as unimaginative beats blur by the window. Good luck then that strong
tracks like, for example "Eye for an Eye" and somewhat disturbing
"Inside" makes the journey to "Never, Never Land"
worthwhile. It’s always, in one way or another, worth to make a
well-produced trip with James Lavelle and his pals.
by the way, both FOTN and Massive Attack also managed to create quite
pleasing albums without some key members.