Mojo (UK)

UNKLE

The Road Part 1 SONGS FOR THE DEF. CD/DL/LP

- Matt Yates

Globetrott­ing musical polymath’s first album in seven years. DJ, producer and man-abouttown James Lavelle is undoubtedl­y one of the best-connected 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.

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