Globetrotting musical polymath’s first album in seven years.
DJ, producer and man-abouttown James Lavelle is undoubtedly one of the bestconnected people in music, having worked with Ian Brown, Massive Attack and Queens Of The Stone Age, among many others, since his UNKLE project first appeared in the mid-’90s. The guest list isn’t too shabby on this fifth effort either, with Mark Lanegan, The Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss and Mercury nominee Eska among those on board. The Road Part 1 is described by Lavelle himself as having “a foot in modern London” – a link that is at best tenuous. As a melting pot of disparate ideas, however, it’s frequently gorgeous. It swings wildly but adroitly from darkly cinematic spirituals (Farewell; Stole Enough) to hypnotic downtempo trance (Sunrise Always Come Around) and glitchy gospel (Cowboys Or Indians). And bar the sole misstep (the sludgy dirge of Nowhere To Run/Bandits), this album proves that after 20-plus years in the game, Lavelle the Renaissance man still has plenty to offer. Matt Yates