Chungking – The Hungry Years

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Following on where single MAKING MUSIC left off, the new album from Brighton trio Chungking (it’s the name of an expressway in Hong Kong) is a floaty opus of trippy beats, psychedelic swirls and Jessie Banks’ soaring voice.

The end result is like an anti-Portishead fronted by Donna Summer, with bursts of organ and squeezebox thrown in for good measure. Occasionally, as on opener COME WITH ME, the touches of brass up the cheese factor, although this is probably intentional in some Bacharach-style so-naff-it’s-cool post-ironic way.

While the subject matter may not be too surprising for an album of this type – predominantly failing relationships (PLEASE DON’T TALK; COLD OUTSIDE) and working ones (ANGEL EYES; LET THE LOVE IN) – the astonishing baritone Jessie unleashes on FULL ON certainly is. We may have found the next Barry White.

With production that verges on the sublime on occasion, this is a much more satisfying body of work than the quick fix of a single and deserves a look. You may need to switch off the Twee Detector at times, though.

4 stars