Olive

Trickle

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Where most trip-hop artists downplay melody as a matter of principle, Olive (keyboardist/trumpeter/producer Tim Kellett and vocalist Ruth-Ann) embraces it almost defiantly, maintaining the rhythmic interest of electronica and the generally dark undercurrents of trip-hop while simultaneously delivering tunes that are swooningly lovely without ever sounding quite commercial. The lead track on the band's Maverick debut is perhaps its best: "Love Affair" glides on an updraft of sampled strings and a subtly jungle-flavored breakbeat, while the sung melody (especially in the chorus, where the chord progression takes an unusual and delightful turn) climbs from peak to emotional peak. The rest of the program is almost as good, from the slow and funky "Trickle" and a tweaked and bleepy version of the 10cc classic "I'm Not in Love" to a slightly Latin-tinged kiss-off song titled "Creature of Comfort." (Several minutes after the end of the album's last track is a hidden song called "Take My Hand.")

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