The Free Association : (I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart

...quite good in a torchy, bohemian way...

Not so long ago, The Free Association’s blend of part-baked psychedelia and cranky soul would’ve been securely categorised as trip-hop. Nowadays we’re far too respectful of [a]David Holmes[/a]’ imperishable cool to nail his band as [I]that[/I] kind of throwback. Nevertheless, ‘(I Wish I Had A) Wooden Heart’ sounds like[a]Morcheeba[/a], albeit [a]Morcheeba[/a]

with a nosebleed and some Bad Friends hanging around in the wings: quite good in a torchy, bohemian way, thanks to Petra Jean Phillipson’s raddled Billie Holiday routine. Also, it makes you wonder whether [a]Tricky[/a]’s old sparring partner Martine Topley-Bird will ever release that solo record she’s been promising for the best part of a decade.

John Mulvey