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Friday, March 10, 2006


Coldcut "Sound Mirrors"

Coldcut have such an illustrious history of pushing music forward -- as a pioneering influence bringing acid house into the mainstream and through their work on the Ninja Tune label -- that any new release comes with great expectations. The fact that "Sound Mirrors" comes so close to realizing them is testament to Jonathan Moore's and Matt Black's continuing relevance and their growing skills as producers.

What's quickly apparent is that, after years of experimentation that has taken the British duo further from the mainstream, Coldcut have decided to make a truly accessible album with an abundance of crossover appeal, with songs such as the bluesy strum of "Man in a Garage" and the Jon Spencer-enhanced hip-hop/garage rock of "Everything Is Under Control." Each track stands alone as a potential single, but everything is imbued with a sense of darkness, edgy vitality and political awareness that keeps "Sound Mirrors" sounding fresh.

Some of the politics gets overbearingly worthy, with "Aid Dealer" making its point rather ham-fistedly and "Mr. Nichols" peddling a rather embarrassing line in new age hippy poetry. Nevertheless, it's an album with creativity to spare from one of the most innovative groups of the last 20 years.

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