Treasures From The Temple
As the album beats open on the savoury reggae hooks of “San San Rock” there’s a dreamy quality that the group brings to the genre. Though it’s more of a subdued take on their average song, it starts the album on a calm and welcoming tone. “History” hits a lot more bluntly in its reflection on the way violence has shaped our lives. While the beat and horns are fairly expected, the way it all comes together in one smooth groove is sublime.
Going into the stomping beats of “Music To Make You Stagger” however, it takes at least half the song for Thievery Corporation to do just that. After it switches to a much faster energy though they start to grab people’s attention although it never really takes off again. There’s an immediately tangible groove and energy to “Letter To The Editor” that makes it much more addictive than earlier tracks on the record. This said it’s really Racquel Jones’ aggressive delivery that makes the song a fun listen.
“Destroy The Wicked” loses a lot of this momentum in another reggae crawler that brings a lot lyrically without much to back it up. With this in mind however, there’s a lot of experimentation going on behind the main beat to make the song feel interesting. With touches of flute and synths, “Guidance” starts to hit its stride early as a mix of Latin grooves and electronic energy clash beautifully. As far as slow burners go, this track straddles being dark and pensive with a lush sonic palette to make for a fun listen.
Where many of Thievery Corporation’s tracks barely stretch the boundaries of reggae and dub music, “Water Under The Bridge” adds in a weird mix of electronica and tones you’d normally only hear from someone like Charlotte Gainsbourg. In all this Natalia Clavier’s misty vocals carry so much mystery and suave allure that it’s easy to get lost in the smoky energy of the song. Similarly, the driving beats of Voyage Libre are lifted even higher by LouLou Ghelichkhani’s soft performance. As each additional layer comes down, Ghelichkhani’s vocals push it forward with a subtle energy that keeps things dreamy and wondrous.
Racquel Jones returns on “Road Block” with similarly fierce lyrics as she drives the song more than its accordion hooks or guitar. Even with a spookier aesthetic than many tracks on the album, the song just really doesn’t push things far enough. Though their first outing was lacking an immediacy, Mr. Lif and Sitali really get the right groove on “Joy Ride.” Over the Steve Miller-like disco, the two bring a dynamic and punchy set of verses about taking life by the horns.
For Ghelichkhani’s second track, there’s a little more French influence in the overall mood of the song, as it blends elements of French-pop from the 60’s through the 80’s. In it all however it’s still Ghelichkhani’s dynamic ability to lure listeners while creating memorable hooks that keeps the song memorable. Notch brings some memorable hooks on “Waiting Too Long” to bring the energy of a reggae classic and the feel to match. While the overall backing beat doesn’t really break the mold, the track is a relaxing and solid take on the genre.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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