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Trip-Hop Direct From Belgium

Blue Wonder Power Milk

After hearing this groups debut album almost 2 years ago, I thought that they were pretty good as far as trip-hop went, but they didn't really do anything to seperate them from the rest of the field. Most well-known for their single "2 Wicky," the group seemed to ride with their pseudo-Portishead sound on their first release A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular. On their second release, however, the group has gone in several different directions (most of them good ones) and come away with a much more original and exciting disc because of it.

The album opens with one of the most beautiful and lush songs I've heard in quite some time. "Battersea" leads off with an almost 20 piece orchestra backing, and once the smooth beats and vocals have been layered in, it's hard not to be overwhelmed (in a good way, that is). The originally titled "Hooverphonic String Orchestra" backs many of the tracks on the album and provide a full, emotional backing that pushes the group into a nice, new territory. Other songs on the disc experiment with funk and different vocalists, but all of them manage to work pretty well. It's a solid follow-up from a group that hopefully doesn't fade into the masses.

Rating: 6.75