Album Review by Mark Bayross
THE MIRROR CONSPIRACY is Thievery Corporation’s second album, after their critically-acclaimed debut SONGS FROM THE THIEVERY HI-FI. Like its predecessor, this also a jazz-fueled trip-hop journey through smoky late night joints (of every description).
While there is a unifying musical theme here – minimalist, introspective ambience with jazzy beats – there is a feeling of the band wanting to transcend boundaries, musical and geographical, throughout. From the lush, sandswept INDRA to the neon-lit oriental backdrop of THE HONG KONG TRIAD, via the Latin rhythms of SO COM VOCE and SAMBA TRANQUILLE, THE MIRROR CONSPIRACY applies subtle layers of exotica to a bed of dub bass and stabs of bossanova or strings. As if to further emphasise this point, track two is called LE MONDE.
While I applaud the fact that they haven’t gone for the full LONELY PLANET routine, a tribal chant here, a didgeridoo there, I would have preferred a tad more variety across the album’s 13 tracks. Despite the globe-trotting influences, each song sounds fairly similar – dub bass, bongos, shimmering keyboards, with the odd bit of female vocal thrown in for good measure.
LEBANESE BLONDE is a spirited, soulful ballad, while ILLUMINATION is quite entertaining, in an Orb-play-with-sitars kind of way, and the orchestration on INDRA is superb, but the rest of this is just too flimsy and half-formed for my liking. Like most good chill-out music, it’s in one ear and out the other.
I guess that’s the point.