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Boomkat Product Review:
Hardly the most prolific of artists, Leila still manages to make her presence felt within the elecronic music community despite seldom actually getting around to making new records. Having released the universally acclaimed and office favourite 'Like Weather' via Rephlex in 1998 and its follow up 'Courtesy Of Choice' two years later for XL, there's been a prolonged silence from Leila's studio, and yet in the interim tours and collaborations with her pal Bjork, in addition to the enduring appeal of that incredible first LP have kept her profile up. A full ten years after that genre-obliterating debut and Leila's finally set to deliver her third full-length, with a few old friends in tow (Luca Santucci and Roya Arab) plus a host of new guest vocalists, such as Terry Hall and Martina Topley-Bird. From the very beginnings of instrumental opener 'Mollie' this is recognisable as Leila's work: the electronics have a dynamism and organic quality you very rarely encounter. The production maintains its melodic focus while incrementally getting heavier and more loaded up with noise, only to change tack dramatically for the Terry Hall-fronted 'Time To Blow'. The ex-Specials singer holds together a weird, uncategorizable ditty, featuring a deft piece of break editing, much resembling a dismantled northern soul beat. Next, 'Little Acorns' is a hip hop/dancehall hybrid with a couple of little kids taking up the vocals, yielding surprisingly successful results. After some underwater soul with her sister Roya, early single 'Mettle' arrives with some gruff drum programming and a battery of fizzy guitars, and this rapidly mutating album takes on yet another guise: 'Carplos' could almost be the backing track for a late '90s R&B hit, filtered through the sci-fi soundscapes of someone who still (quite reasonably) has a penchant for IDM. This record just gives you too much to talk about: next comes the experimental operatic oddity 'The Exotics' featuring vocalist Seaming To, leading up to another single - and a clear highlight - 'Deflect', which just sounds like great, 21st century pop music. She might not be the most prolific of producers, but when Leila does get round to making an album, she really knows what she's doing, coming up with a real feast of a record, with more ideas and changes of direction within its fifty-five minutes than most of her electronica contemporaries would have across their entire discography. Amazing.