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Never Never Land

18 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, October 25, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

UNKLE mainstay James Lavelle teams up with Richard File for a progressive work which Mixmag (June 2003) says "sounds like the joint album Massive Attack, The Stone Roses and Pink Floyd never made."

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 Lost 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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Back And Forth
  2. Eye For An Eye
  3. In A State
  4. Safe In Mind (Please Get This Gun From Out My Face)
  5. I Need Something Stronger
  6. What Are You To Me?
  7. Panic Attack
  8. Invasion
  9. Reign
  10. Glow
  11. Inside
  12. Awake The Unkind

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: U.N.K.L.E.
  • ASIN: B0002VEPB2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,927 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Na on November 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
When one of my former student housemates handed me a copy of 'UNKLE's 1998 debut album 'Psyence Fiction' a few years ago I knew it was going to be special. Not only did I have a lot of faith in this particular friend's recommendations, but the album featured some great cover art by the unmistakable Futura 2000, and the promotional sticker on the front mentioned collaborators like Thom Yorke Ian Brown, and Richard Ashcroft. Of course it was going to be good.

It didn't disappoint, in fact it became one of the most listened to albums of my whole 3 year stay at University.
James Lavelle and DJ Shadow had created something truly original. I even used the library's incredibly slow computers to download the video to 'Rabbit in your headlights' -- which, if you haven't already witnessed, is disturbing, cerebral, and quite brilliant.

The winter of 2004 heralds the return of James Lavelle to American shores, this time teaming up with Richard File to produce ''Never, Never, Land'' -- yet another revelation in modern dance music. Collaborators for this new album include vocals from Ian Brown, Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker and 'Massive Attack''s inimitable 3D.

After a brief intro, `'Never, Never, Land'' opens with the ominous "Even now in Heaven there were angels carrying savage weapons" -- a track with a not-so-subtle anti-war message, with samplings from the movie 'A thin red line' used to great effect.

The album evolves through many atmospheric channels, from the heavy break beats and stomping baselines of 'Eye for an Eye',
to the thoroughly chilled ambience of 'In a State' or the free-flowing electronica of 'Invasion'. Some tracks like 'Safe in Mind' have obvious rock influences and vocal mixes used in very interesting ways.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Martens on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Atleast that's what i hear, but not in the way the cover might suggest. It's not scary, its meditative. The odd lyrics from "the thin red line" bring a tone of solemn to the album. Regardless, of my early impressions the album is brilliant- and even more so, because i havn't heard sasha's remixes off of his Involver for quite some time. I wish I had bought this before i heard those monster tracks. The space has allowed me to be honest with this review, this is an incredible album- not a dance album though. This is an infusion of definate massive attack legend-- it's more easily relatable to mezzanine. but there are stints of acoustic guitar a current trend in beat music, along with vocals that mimic Beck at times. Arguably, its a failure to try and draw comparisons, this an experiment, a project for lavelle- and a success. maybe james lavelle should stick with this concept in general, leave the clubs behind- its not a bad way to hear your tracks remixed by sasha and hear him bending the ground with them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By NRT on December 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I really like discs that push the limits or try to do somthing different than your standard mix CD. Don't get me wrong I love a great mix, most of my favorite CD's are mixed (my current favorite being Armin's Universal Religion Live in Ibiza). This CD is different - don't expect to DANCE to it - this is dark and melancholy and a good disc to think or write to or whatever you may do while listening to music. This disc is great from begining to end, and make sure to buy the special 2 disc edition becuase the second disc of remixes is outstanding as well. This is not for the everday run of the mill electronic listener, but if you are brave, willing to expand your music horizon, and care to take a slightly dark journey into UNCKLE, welcome aboard.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on January 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I don't know who U.N.K.L.E. is. The liner notes on this album are a dizzying mish-mosh of hundreds of names. Who, I wonder, is responsible for this harshly tender and touching album?

Ostensibly, the helmsmen are James Lavelle (who did much of the exquisite and expansive producing) and collaborator Richard File (whose voice shows up on over a third of the songs). But these two are guiding a ship that is staffed with a pretty talented crew, including Brian Eno, 3D (of Massive Attack), Jarvis Cocker, Josh Homme (from Queens of the Stone Age), and Ian Brown.

Some argued (when the album was released, and even now) that despite (or because of) the wide array of talent around the record, the end result is uneven and unfocused. Lavelle, in interviews, countered by saying that a unifying theme was one of childhoods lost, of personal growth in the face of unstoppable time. This makes some sense, given the title and the lead track ("Back and Forth," in which we are told that life is "changes ... what you gotta go through your whole lifetime"). In spite of Lavelle's claim, thought, there is some sonic discrepancy between a few tracks, but this seems like small potatoes when those tracks are already so well done to begin with.

Most of the record is buffeted up by powerful waves of sound (some of them more than reminiscent of the men behind their making; 3D's "Invasion" sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Massive Attack album), floating on lofty currents of bass, much of it sparkling with arteries of synth bright enough to bring some light to the dreary lyrics. This is, to be sure, electronica, but it is electronica at its genesis, before it had taken great pains to distance itself so exclusively from anything even remotely mainstream.
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