Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
June 14, 2003
Amazon Disco:
Between Darkness & Wonder Between Darkness & Wonder
February 24, 2004
Koch Records
Lamb Lamb
May 13, 1997
Mercury / Universal
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What Sound (Deluxe)

a full two years detached from its original oversees release, What Sound (Deluxe) comes stateside with [what should be] all sorts of goodies. but in the end these extras--some of which are worthwhile--really lose their splendor when placed next to Lamb's original and diaphanous compositions. Andy Barlow, to me, represents one of the most refined DJ's in the drum n' bass scene simply because he really understands the possible dynamics the genre holds and, more often than not, maximizes them. the result is a whopping forest of an album that has its roots in d n' b but sprouts a generous assortment of species. if Barlow designs the seed then Lou Rhodes nourishes it. her voice has the same uniqueness and immediacy as that of Tracy Thorne or Horace Andy, brimming with a tender, sweet light that's almost too difficult to explain. i don't think such a combination has augured so well as on their latest outing.

the album begins with 'What Sound,' probably one of the best songs on the album. Rhodes's vocals begin the piece gradually followed by Barlow's precise layering complete with a very lush orchestral addition. On 'One' Rhodes takes the role of the orchestra as her silky voice moves with a wind-like dexterity throughout the track. the same majesty and completeness is seen in 'I Cry,' 'Gabriel' and even the instrumental departure of 'Scratch Bass.' of course the one problem i have with the album is the fact that their record company became strangely conciliatory towards its domestic listeners as though we were abandoned for europe. so they stocked what is a perfectly stellar album on its own with oodles of remixes and even a bonus DVD. besides Nellee Hooper's "ok" rendition of 'Gabriel' (surprisingly enough only the beat pattern was changed), most of the remixes are downright terrible. if you're going to remix, don't do a half-ass job and especially when you're remixing a group like Lamb. nonetheless if you can overlook this slight problem you have a rare gem on your hands.

Release date:
Rating: 9.5 / 10