Blanket

Ultimately too weighed down by drab socio-political observations and retro accessories to qualify as a cool, state-of-the-art album...

"Mr A&R man, check it out, this is the best bit", raps Urban Species' Mintos, before whistling in the corniest fashion known to man. Suffice to say, it isn't the best bit. But it does divulge that, as on their first album, 'Listen', here's a band which pays scant regard to the decree that UK funk and hip-hop must now be loaded with more angst and distortion than an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting staged in a steelworks.







As evidenced by the appearance of American soul great Terry Callier on a couple of tracks, Urban Species' reverence for the funk stretches to a time before Massive Attack and Portishead, to a time when it was free to be pretty and serene. This may lead to a few too many wangy guitar solos, but also to the vivid mix of affection and trim grooves captured on 'Women', and rich dub foray of 'Predictably Unpredictable'; to a Soul II Soul-like scope - embracing sound-system heaviness, buoyant tunes and Imogen Heap's empathic vocals - which those who've strived to follow the aforementioned Bristolians have neglected.







Ultimately too weighed down by drab socio-political observations and retro accessories to qualify as a cool, state-of-the-art album, 'Blanket' is nevertheless a moderately snug experience to wrap yourself in.
6 / 10

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