Glenn Gregory (ex-Heaven 17 frontman) and Keith Lowndes (ex-ABC member) sat down on a...
Jack Smith 2005
Honeyroot was formed when musical sparring partners Glenn Gregory (ex-Heaven 17 frontman) and Keith Lowndes (ex-ABC member) sat down on an idyllic beach in Ibiza, looked out at a perfect, salmon-flecked sunset and decided the world needed yet another chill-out album.
So far, so grimace-inducing, though thankfully Sound.Echo.Location, does not fall into the corpulent category of Jose Padilla/Café-Del-Mar-style ambience.
The album instead inhabits the sonic territory normally traversed by the downtempo grooves of Zero 7 (see 'Starshine') and Air (see 'French Theme') and the urban/urbane pop-soul of Massive Attack and Groove Armada.
The perky "Sweet As Honey" weaves pop and dance together with a sassy female vocal motif, and the slightly nervous title track offers jittery percussion, disoriented vocal samples and even distressed production sounds.
"State Of Mind" contains even more brio, utilizing scratches, samples and Massive-esque beatwork, though it's on the penultimate track, 'Blue Space', that the duo really start thinking about club interiors. 'French Theme', meanwhile, contains so much of Air's fluffed-out space funk that it must surely be a tribute.
Much of what occurs on Echo.Sound.Location sounds cinematic and the guest vocalists - Billie Godfrey, Angie Brown, Kerry Shaw and Lindsay Crisp - are reduced mostly to textural motifs that complement the sense of drawn-out, hypnotic minimalism.
Nowhere is this more evident than on 'Falling', where a voice drifts gently through emotive synths to create a dream-like lullaby, as well as on the bonus track, an elegiac version of Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.
For all the album's filmic qualities, the accompanying DVD - which offers a video for each track - possesses all the clichéd cheese the soundtrack has managed to (for the most part) avoid. If watching birds arching through the skies, flowers bending bravely in the wind and waves lapping at golden shores is your thing, then fine. Otherwise, we suggest you stick to the soundtrack.
Review: Paul Sullivan