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Brand New Day

...this must be the latest [a]Sting[/a] album to come along in his meandering midlife phase...

Brand New Day

6 / 10 If the rainbow striations of the human spirit are flowing into an ocean of enlightenment'n'higher love, soundtracked by Hindu jazz turtles, then this must be the latest [a]Sting[/a] album to come along in his meandering midlife phase.

The knightly bass-slapper is not to be found in a soul cage this time, nor is he in a post-mystic roots-gobbling mope. His feet have been on a dhoti catwalk in India, and thus Eastern flavours permeate. There are Kula-isms in the opening millennial love song 'A Thousand Years', and 'Desert Rose' brings in your genuine qawwali-style vocalists to joust with [a]Sting[/a]'s visionary wailing about dreams of God in silver desert sands.

William Orbit adds restrained techno burble, and as floaty ghostly travelogue pop goes, it's all dazzlingly buffed. It's also funny on the country-gospel 'Fill Her Up', whimsical - with French rapper included - on 'Perfect Love Gone Wrong', and self-referentially charming on the 'Roxanne'-like hooker's tale 'Tomorrow We'll See'.

Nothing challenges the aura of an international star doing too many things too safely, but the man's speciality - a gently radiant disquiet - is in full effect. Some ponderous stuff. Some fun. Some tablas. Talvin Sting, treading Ganges water.

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