One and One Is One

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Given the high quality of the dance music coming out of London's Asian Underground movement these days -- Talvin Singh's O.K. and the Asian Dub Foundation's Rafi's Revenge were two of 1999's best albums -- you'd expect better than this from Joi, a duo consisting of brothers Farook Shamsher and Harron Shamsher, who proved their mettle with an excellent remix on the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tribute album Star Rise. But on their debut full-length they tend to lose focus and go a bit soft. Despite the complex and beautiful percussion textures on "Everybody Say Yeah" and singer Susheela Raman's inspired performance on "Asian Vibes" (not to mention a great drum'n'bass mix on "ESY-SHJ" courtesy of Spring Heel Jack), the album never feels like it gets all the way off the ground. "Heartbeat," with its mediocre house groove, is a bust from the first measure, and although "India" starts off promisingly with a bracing bhangra rhythm, it eventually trails off into a boring 4/4 rock beat and little else. Make no mistake -- nothing on this album is less than pleasant, but too, not much of it is more than just pleasant.

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