War Stories

By 18, James Lavelle had started seminal whiteboy-hop label Mo Wax. By 22, he’d released DJ Shadow’s world-beating ‘Endtroducing’. No sweat. Soon, he’d recruited Shadow for his own record, and added a galaxy of big names besides: Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft, Mike D. The result, UNKLE’s ‘Psyence Fiction’, became a milestone of blunted loopy-hop. Zoom forward to 2007, and UNKLE have relocated nearer to planet rock. A sonic reference might be Death In Vegas’ ‘Scorpio Rising’. But whereas DIV had a sense of character, UNKLE drift towards the world of dance anaemia. There are highlights: Jeff Buckley-doppelganger Gavin Clark puts in two star turns (‘Broken’ and ‘Keys To The Kingdom’), while The Cult’s Ian Astbury puts his gravel-throat to good use. It’s solid enough, but given the imagination they once possessed, it sounds like UNKLE are trying too hard.

Gavin Haynes

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