To Come (East West) At first glance this looks like another Japanese child prodigy embarking on a singing career before his voice breaks, but the pre-pubescent figure on the album sleeve proves to be misleading. Examination of the sleeve notes reveals the child to be nothing more than a cover model and, as I scan on through the track list I begin to get a little excited. Names like ex-Specials and Fun Boy Three frontman Terry Hall and the smooth-voiced Ursula Rucker appear as guest vocalists.
My sudden optimism is not misplaced. This album proves to be a sublime journey through trip-hop territory. It's a collection of melodic, slow paced but emotive tracks weaved together seamlessly by Silent Poets Michiharu Shimoda and Takahiro Haruno. Shimoda, also a graphic designer, has worked with Tricky and this could almost be a follow-up to Blue Lines, the Massive Attack album which bears Tricky's unmistakable stamp.
Instrumental tracks with swirling strings and undulating beats punctuate a series of sublime, well-crafted songs. Someday and Prisons have a harder hip-hop edge, while on other tracks the soothing vocals of Virginia Astley, Kirsty Hawkshaw and Rucker glide over dub and trip-hop rhythms. In fact, the morose Hall is the biggest disappointment of the bunch. A perfect album to chill out with in the summer months.