Shining Stars

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Like far too many techno producers these days, Miguel Graça seems much more concerned with crafting songs that work well for the dancefloor -- always a single-oriented setting where the focus is more on dancing (or imbibing the mind-altering chemical of choice) than on the music -- rather than for the stereo. Unfortunately, that is precisely where most listeners will partake of Shining Stars, and these six- to eight-minute dance marathons simply do not hold up under intense scrutiny. Sure, the grooves of songs like "Speak My Mind" are infectious enough, with its echoing synths, disco beats, and Darnell Robinson's soulful vocals. But once the groove is introduced, the song goes virtually nowhere for seven minutes. Ultimately, spacy interludes like "Words of Love" and shorter songs like "Rollin'" show more creative promise, giving you just enough of a taste of their tripped-out sounds to keep you hungry for more rather than force-feeding you the same middling vibe until you've had way more than your fill.

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