Never Never Land
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My FAVORITE of the UNKLE albums. Too bad the others aren't like this onePublished 15 months ago by rose marie diedesch
why everyone hates this album? yeah it is different. but it is different for the better. haunting melodies, beautiful creations = genius! Read morePublished on January 17, 2010 by John Jilly Wilkinson
But why would I buy it if I didn't like it
I love UNKLE
has a message
New age Punk... Read more
This is not the UNKLE we've grown to love. With that out of the way, we can take a look at this Shadow-less UNKLE release. Read morePublished on February 25, 2008 by Jorge Alvarado
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. Read morePublished on January 19, 2007 by Mark Eremite
This album, just like it's predecessor is an amazing work of art and achivement that is, as it should be, respected by those who truly appreciate and repect the greatness of the... Read morePublished on May 8, 2006 by belly0fdesire
I liked the first UNKLE album OK, but I did not get anything out of this. Not one track on this entire album appeals to me at all. Very, very dissappointing. Read morePublished on March 28, 2006 by livefree
Much like the first U.N.K.L.E. project, this album meanders all over the place in a jarring, disjointed way. Read morePublished on October 16, 2005 by Etc