It took a few years, but I've stopped expecting UNKLE to come up with an album that sounds anything like Psyence Fiction, the debut full length from Mo' Wax main man James Lavelle which, at the time, was a tightly wound collaboration with the visionary DJ Shadow. It didn't last beyond that one album which, admittedly, has turned out to be more a collaboration than many of us assumed at the time.
Friday, April 1, 2011
UNKLE - The Dog is Black (featuring Leila Moss)
In 1997, it was easy to pin the whole thing on Shadow, because the man was in his effortless prime, and Lavelle was a visionary label head, but who could have predicted that, this long after the fact, UNKLE would continue to be putting out compelling music. Because Psyence Fiction is what it is, I (I'll speak only for myself here) have looked for that album over and over and been disappointed not to find it, despite how great Never Never Land and War Stories actually are.
Where Did The Night Fall, the epically mesmerizing album that Lavelle released in an endless stream of ever more clever and expensive formats, completely changed that. Really, the artwork and packaging is stunning. But that's not the point or the reason I spent all day listening to Only The Lonely, a new five-track EP due out Tuesday. I'm just looking for epic production and the right vocalist, because it has become apparent that UNKLE can do that every time out.
This EP, released pretty quickly after last year's triumphant full length, which felt like it didn't get as much attention as it should have, includes the much written about collaboration with Nick Cave, "Money And Run." I'd be writing about it too if Ms. Moss didn't catch me. The lead singer of The Duke Spirit howls over a dramatic pounding stutter for five minute track that makes me wonder if this is what the sirens sounded like in The Odyssey. I just think epic when I listen to this stuff, so why not go with the epic literature reference, right?
It's a good thing Lavelle turned out to be a lifer, because he's come back around to hit stride with a string of great releases. I'd say an EP like this every six months or so would create an army of worshippers but I'm sure he's got a way better plan then that.
Buy UNKLE's Only The Lonely EP from Shockhound on Tuesday, April 4.
In the meantime, buy other music by UNKLE from Shockhound.