Formerly of both Global Communication and the Jedi Knights, the U.K.'s Mark Pritchard (nee Meecham) has decided to go it alone with Troubleman. Troubleman is a song-oriented studio project that features a number of live musicians including vocalists. The music runs the gamut. First there are the jazzy breakbeats on "Have a Good Time," which opens the set, followed by the sultry, spacey, sci-fi samba "Paz," featuring Da Lata's Brazilian songstress Nina Miranda on vocals. Next up is "Prelude to the Path," where U.K soul queen Eska introduces a slow, slippery double groove with layered vibes and snaky, shimmering snares. It's all hypnotism and nocturne. Samba returns on "The Righteous Path" with David Brinkworth's vibes, Alex Pilkington and Simon Shippey on acoustic guitars, and Chris Taylor's stunning double bass work layered with sampled flutes and berimbau and a haunting vocal chorus flitting about the track's middle section. The breaks come back on "Lonely Girl," popping up around an airy chord structure with live double bass. The two hippest cuts are in the middle, the beautifully wrought modern electro-jazz bossa of "Toda Hora," with Miranda slipping around the multivalent layers of rhythm, and the edgy futurist soul of "Roll On," with Eska upfront and Pino Palladino on bass! Steve Spacek does his best late-night Philip Bailey on "Without You," and the set closes with "Zap," another Miranda moment where ten vocals and keyboard lines are all backwards, lending a disconcerting, eerie feel as the album whispers out of earshot. It's not a perfect disc by far with the title track and the completely unnecessary Afro-beat hyperdrive of "Strikehard" sounding like mutants in this otherwise sexy mix, but there is more than enough to keep one's interest here, and find delight in places.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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