Together with Kinobe, Air, and Groove Armada, Simon Mills and Nail Tolliday forged their own rivulet from the glacial chill-out movement with their debut album, Programmed to Love. Built upon a foundation of cheeky titles and boot sale samples, there was enough variety to distinguish the Nottingham duo from the swath of other producers knocking out similar groove therapy. This sophomore outing from the pair is a much smoother affair than its predecessor, though; as befits the horizontal nature of the music, it takes a few tracks for the album to get up to speed -- the Beloved's Jon Marsh drawing the elements together with his contribution to the luscious "Beautiful Otherness." From there it's winners all the way, B.J. Cole's bottleneck slide work the catalyst for a sweeping segue from the Hawaiian guitar of "Moonbeams" into Billie Jo Spears' faux country "So Long Without You." Having pulled Greek vocalist Nana Mouskouri from obscurity on their previous album, so '70s teen sensation David Essex receives the resurrection here, coming on like a mid-career Bowie in the ridiculous frippery of "Stay the Same." Bent thrives on these juxtapositions, however, and it comes as little surprise to find the pair quickly change direction, dropping the uptempo house "Magic Love" before finishing the album with a flourish by way of a pair of orchestrally draped beats and pieces. Fans and newcomers alike should check out the kings of the genre.
AllMusic Review by Kingsley Marshall