The second album by Channel Light Vessel, the short-lived supergroup of Bill Nelson, Roger Eno, Laraaji, and Kate St. John, is more abstract and groovy (in the psychedelic sense, not the dancey sense) than 1995's Automatic, which had been these art-rockers' idea of pop music. Excellent Spirits finds Nelson taking a greater role in the proceedings (Automatic had largely been Eno's project), singing the majority of the lead vocals and covering most of the songs in his typical gauzy-treated guitars and keyboards (warning for those with low pretension tolerances: Instrument credits include "bible of dreams guitar" and "elevator to nirvana synths"). A good chunk of the songs are either instrumentals or have minimal wordless vocals (usually in St. John's angelic soprano), and, to be frank, Excellent Spirits doesn't sound that much different from the majority of Bill Nelson's solo records of the '90s. The main difference is a more prominent rhythm section to most of the songs, which brings to mind Nelson's new wave era hits "Do You Dream in Colour'" and "Flaming Desire," no bad thing. There is absolutely nothing here that will change the mind of anyone who isn't already a Bill Nelson or Roger Eno fan, but fans will find much to enjoy.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason