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The first Lobe album proved to be Swim's surprise wild card and was a magical album from start to finish, so I had high hopes for this release. I wasn't to be disappointed.

The Lobe sound persists through most of the nine tracks: warm electronic undercurrents are joined by washes of lush textures and slowly building rhythms. Fragments of melody play within the mix that evolves over the course of each piece. It's hardly the sort of thing that grabs hold of you and screams 'listen to me.' Instead you'll find it seeping in slowly and soon it becomes all-engrossing.

Although the methods are similar to the first Lobe album, many of these pieces seem to have more of an edge—particularly Kulfi with its muted but insistent bass drum behind distant chords that edges it towards more traditional dance music territory. The rather melancholy and sweet-sounding Artificial Sweetener also follows this course and is one of the more uplifting, bright and hopeful pieces. Even so, the introspective sounds of Nude and Hatching are more impressive still—music for an inner space and therapy for the mind. Wonder Into finishes the album in fine style, echoing several of the ideas in the other eight tracks to create a mesmerising and heartening ending.

If there is any criticism that can be levelled at this release it's that it might seem like 'more of the same'. Lobe has an obvious style, and while it improves on the debut, it is not overly different. Having said that, this is still an essential and magical slice of electronica.

Craig Grannell (April, 1999)

Cover artwork