Stereo MCs Paradise (Graffiti) British white-boy hip-hoppers Stereo MCs routinely leave a handful of years between albums, only to return with hardly changed melodious swagger. And true to form, Paradise, the two decade-old London outfit's latest offering, contains some catchy numbers - but you may justifiably feel you've pretty much heard it all before. The core of the original lineup - singers Rob Birch and Cath Coffey and keyboards whizz Nick Hallam remain - and so does the core sound. The MCs' 1992 album Connected and 2001's Deep Down & Dirty were high points: fresh fusions of pop- rock and dance, tinged with Happy Mondays-like slouch and arrogance. Much of this sound is well preserved on this album. Current single Warhead, though, drags on. Far more impressive is dubby First Love on this double A- side release, with Birch's rap delivery sounding more than a little Roots Manuva-inspired and the brass backing sounding very Portishead. The funkiest number, enhanced by Coffey's irrepressibly soulful vocals, is Sun, while female vocalist Stephanie McKay shines in the album's slickest and most infectious track, The Fear. Paradise's predecessors of looped melodies and expert break-beat drum programming courtesy made a serious non-mainstream impact on much of British and global pop music in the 1990s. A shame the band are now not inspired to step away from the old and somewhat tired, though listenable, formula. Credit to the MCs, nonetheless, for releasing whatever they felt like on their own label.