Boomkat Product Review:
Cripes, when Unkle unleash an album they don't half go to town. Back to the form of the project's first album, Psyence Fiction, there's a list of guest artists and collaborators as long as your arm on War Stories, but while that debut featured turns by the likes of Thom Yorke, DJ Shadow, Richard Ashcroft and Badly Drawn Boy, this time around the supporting cast is slightly lower in profile, meaning that no track overshadows another ('Rabbit In Your Headlights', 'Lonely Soul' and 'Nursery Rhyme' being the prime culprits). For War Stories, James Lavelle has called upon assistance from the likes of Josh Homme, The Cult's Ian Astbury, Autolux and The Duke Spirit to list but a few. After an eerie intro piece, 'Chemistry' kicks in with Homme's barbed guitar strokes. It's strange to hear the Queens Of The Stone Age man playing like this - it's somewhere between Jonny Greenwood and Mogwai - while orchestral string dynamics carry the piece onwards to a noisy rock-out conclusion. Lavelle himself steps up to the mic for 'Hold My Hand' and in so doing sounds uncannily like Ian Brown. 'Price You Pay' is an entirely different beast, part '70s prog-rock, part epic string ballad, it somehow manages to swith into Moroder-style proto disco mode without sounding too inappropriate. Two of the best tracks come from indie darlings Autolux and The Duke Spirit. The Autolux track in particular stands out as one of the most sophisticated compositions here, with superb beat production to boot. Massive Attack's 3D appears for some echoic vocals on 'Twilight', possibly the most electronic, even ambient piece here, while Ian Astbury is far more forthcoming with his contributions, setting the single 'Burn My Shadow' alight and lending a dignified croon to the most grandiose moment on the album, the immense John Barry-like 'When Things Explode'. The long-awaited War Stories seems to have arrived on a multitude of different formats, each with its own merits. This particular edition comes with a pair of bonus tracks not featured on the double disc limited edition, 'Buying A Lie' is the pick of these, with Alfie's Lee Gorton making a most welcome appearance. Lord knows how much this project cost to make. Apart from all the celebs on the payroll whichever format you chose you won't be disappointed with the sheer luxuriousness of the album's impressive artwork and packaging.