I decided to buy Outrospective based on a couple songs someone i know sent me. usually this is how i buy my music: i select, at random, a few album tracks to try out and if those tracks sound pretty good then i buy the album in the next few days or so. however, this type of shopping style is predicated on the belief that the album will retain the consistency of the few songs i listened to--note that this does not mean i expect every song on the album to be good as the ones i liked. but besides "Crazy English Summer," "One Step Too Far," and "Liontamer" the entire cd just sits there like an indolent ass that is sometimes prodded to motion, but usually such motion is quick and negated (or perhaps exhaustive) when he goes back to bed.
i don't think it's too harsh to say that this album is *lazy* since my dislike emanates more from the fact that there are stellar tracks (the ones i mentioned) among a disturbing field of monotony and uninspired melodies. songs like "We Come 1" just reek with hesitation and poor improvisation (the rather boring synth break in the middle of the song) and make for a dull listen. "Muhammad Ali" tries vainly to add some traditional funk elements but it sounds too studio-driven to be anything but lackluster while Rollo's rapping comes with little punch (no pun intended) or originality. i take "No Enuff Love" as a failed attempt to re-create the smoky, disquieting mood that Tricky captured so well on Maxinquaye because, again, its inorganic composition leads to its downfall. it's all really tragic since there are some really stellar gems like "Evergreen," a quiet and somber song of reflection that tries to exhibit the singer Zoe more than the clean production.
had Faithless relied less on studio gizmos and more on the talents of their singers--which includes the majestic chanteuse Dido--then perhaps this album wouldn't have been such a disappointment. as it stands, Outrospective is one of the poorer exemplars of house and club.
Label: Arista Records