Villa Claustrophobia

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Jesse Poe's creation of North Indian and Middle Eastern influences results in an often alluring and eclectic look at how global music has evolved over the last decade, with members of various rock groups, including Cracker, serving as collaborators. Though "In Every Villa" tends to be too deliberate, recalling halcyon days of the hippie and psychedelic era works adequately. "Pharoah's Lonely Daughter" is the polar opposite of the previous song, sounding more like Urge Overkill over violins and a moody, muddled guitar. Jessica Billey's ethereal vocals during "Devil's Interval" propel the song forward, but the arrangement loses momentum in the middle. Her voice also shines in a supporting role during "Prayers in the Billions of Other Men's Dreams." The most noticeable aspect of the album is how, given the array of instruments, there is little in the way of tension. "Stereognosis" appears to be one of the more accessible tracks, with the vocals and instruments complementing each other deftly. The record's second half moves toward a cross between Spiritualized and Pink Floyd à la "Echoes." "Gentle Johnny" resembles a fusion between a traditional jazz standard and an Irish narrative.

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