I don’t know Moloko at all, so I don’t know how this album changed their sound from previous record. I read that they were considerably more electronic before this record, but I’m taking that on faith. All I can really talk about what’s here, whish might be described as soulful, funky, dancier Portishead – like R&B Portishead.
They have a really good sense of melody, with most of the songs being pretty catchy – catchier than most trip hop (if you can call this trip hop). I read that Murphy’s lyrics are supposedly more personal than before, but I really can’t say I know that’s true, or particularly relevant. Though arguably not explicitly dance music, this music is what you might call dance-adjacent and lyrics don’t matter much in dance music. I’m not sure her lyrics are particularly. If they are “more personal” (better?) than before, that’s probably good. Just know that you won’t care much.
Because the real draw is Murphy’s voice, which is full what someone called “sass”, in addition to being pretty impressive. Well, her voice and the arrangements, which find the middle ground between Portishead-style trip hop and Amy Winehouse-style soul revivalism. Didn’t think that was thing that could exist? Well it does. Listening to this makes you wonder why all trip hop isn’t this soulful.
The record is a little long and starts dragging near the end. The dance remix of an earlier hit at the end really leaves a sour taste in my mouth so I probably shouldn’t have listened to it but, even before that track, it where’s out it’s welcome just a little bit.
But they’ve found their own very specific niche in the musical world and it works very well. It’s kind of crazy to me that I’ve never heard of them before and I wonder if they were just one of those bands that were big in the UK but somehow never translated to North America.