The duo behind England's Alpha -- Andy Jenks and Corin Dingley -- combines groovy synth sounds, live string arrangements, acid jazz, and torchy flair to create the atmospheric lounge numbers found on their second album, The Impossible Thrill. Three singers -- Wendy Stubbs, Helen White, and Martin Barnard -- all lend their vocal stylings to the disc's 11 airy confections, which recall Portishead and Massive Attack (who, incidentally, own Melankolic, the label to which Alpha is signed). There is no hidden agenda here -- what listeners get is about an hour's worth of sublime mood music, England-style. To that end, Alpha is at the top of their craft, delivering trance-inducing songs, note for note. The three featured singers must be equally credited, because without their contribution, Alpha's songs may have easily lacked distinction. In fact, it's due largely in part to the hypnotic and ethereal sounds of Stubbs, White, and Barnard that comparisons to Portishead and others can be drawn. All players combined, Alpha successfully continues on the path pioneered by their forebears and adds their own unique imprint to this style of music. The Impossible Thrill is woozy, trance-like, and sublime, and its thrill is far from impossible. An enjoyable listen, indeed.
The Impossible Thrill Review
by Liana Jonas