The Sky Is Mine

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This two-disc set marks just over ten years since Alpha first exploded onto the indie techno-trip-pop scene with Come from Heaven, which was released under the aegis of Massive Attack on what was then their brand-new Melankolic label. If you liked Alpha then you'll probably still like them now, though if this marks your first exposure to their music you may find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. The group is a duo comprised of Corin Dingley and Wendy Stubbs; Stubbs provides all the vocals, and her voice is often the most attractive thing about the songs -- it's dark in tone but not too murky, and light in texture without being fluffy. The songs themselves are OK, but they mostly seem like variations on the same theme, and the variations don't vary much: "Burn Me Again," "Given Time," "May," and "For the Wages" are all dark and quiet and not terribly interesting. "Stargazing" evokes 1960s pop in a good way, while "Surely" does the same in a slightly seasick way. The album's best track, "Home," starts out unpromisingly with a desultory and out-of-tune piano, but then slowly builds in intensity and interest. The second disc is more interesting, mainly because half of it consists of beefed-up remixes of songs from the regular program (the other half is bonus tracks which are also, ironically enough, mostly more interesting than the main album). Overall, this is a worthy addition to the band's catalog but probably not a must-have for anyone except die-hard fans.

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