Drenched in dub, intoxicated by clubby beats, infatuated by soul and secretly still in love with rock, The Aloof are a group of DJs, hedonists and part-time Sabres Of Paradise types who try to encapsu
DRENCHED IN DUB, intoxicated by clubby beats, infatuated by soul and secretly still in love with rock, The Aloof are a group of DJs, hedonists and part-time Sabres Of Paradise types who try to encapsulate pop music’s endless hybrid possibilities in their widescreen tunes. And this, their third LP, is probably the closest they have yet come to producing a single grand, ‘Screamadelica’-style tapestry of throbbing sound.
Aloof tracks tend to arrive like gathering storm clouds on the horizon, all heaped menace and billowing gloom. Melancholy epics like ‘Morning Spangle’ and ‘Going Home’ are cases in point, the first a towering ambi-dub mammoth, the latter a huge heat haze of ‘Fool’s Gold’ fuzziness. Sometimes actual songs emerge from this swirling murk, like ‘What I Miss The Most’, an elegiac piano-driven postmortem on a spent love affair. Add Ennio Morricone to this pedigree guest list of blissed-out Brit-rock lineage and you arrive at the haunted dancehall beats of ‘N89’, a trip-hop spaghetti western soundtrack of immense panache.
With a few more strong melodic and emotional hooklines, this would have been a magnificent album; it’s got grandeur, swagger and atmosphere to spare, but falls shy of providing the two or three drop-dead anthems required for true greatness. The canvas explodes with bold and broad brush strokes, but God is in the detail – and the details are smudgy. These high plains drifters have a little way to go yet.