Fretless AZM

Millennium Butterflies

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AllMusic Review by

With former partner Rupert Brown off making his own records as Universal Being, Max Brennan is in complete control of Fretless AZM's fifth album, and the change has done him good. Starting with the deliberately comical vocoder-and-synth pastiche "Hackney Disco," this is Fretless AZM's wittiest and most fun album by far. Brief experimental interludes like the abstract and watery "Am I?" sit side by side with more familiar mélanges of fusion, funk, and electronica like the bass-led soulful groove of "Slapping and Shaking," and the proximity does wonders for both styles. Brennan's songs are more melodically and structurally interesting than before, with a greater emphasis on melodic and rhythmic progression and a wider sonic variety in the arrangements. Songs like the wiggly "Turkish Delight" and the lazy trip-hop of "Setting the Scene" are equally suitable for dancing and casual listening, a first for Fretless AZM. It's odd that Brennan and Brown both started making the best records of their careers after they stopped working together, but five albums in, Millennium Butterflies is the first truly great album of Fretless AZM's career.

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