Courtesy Of Choice

We'll expect another masterpiece in 2003.

Spliffed out of her tree in her north London bedroom, a few years spent navigating the globe as the keyboardist and live mixer in her friend Bjvrk’s band,

Leila Arab cut a mighty peculiar figure when she emerged, a cynical militant idealist, in springtime 1998.

‘Like Weather’ was the album; a slow-motion starburst of molten Motown and eiderdown electronica so unlike anything else at the time that its comprehensive lushness and reference-free doodles almost threatened to make a star of its author.

. Well, quite.

As alluring as ‘Like Weather’, ‘Courtesy Of Choice’ proves once again that Leila orbits a planet very different to our own. Here, aided by the same gang of vocalists -; her sister Roya, pretty soulboy Luca Santucci and sultry diva Donna Paul -; Leila continues to craft fantastically spooked sci-fi symphonies barely anchored in reality, the scope of ideas on display a testament to her keenly fractured imagination.

Yet it’s the songs featuring the voice of the hugely talented Santucci that, when blended with Leila‘s other-worldly production, make ‘Courtesy Of Choice’ a more accomplished and focused listen than its predecessor. From the digital soul of ‘To Win Her Love’ and ‘To Tell A Lie’‘s touching honesty, it’s clear he too is destined for greater things.

Whether this unorthodox collective choose to capitalise on their achievements is, as before, entirely up to them. We’ll expect another masterpiece in 2003.