Anything But Words is at its best when it raises the tempo: the high-energy "Giants" and the thumping "Ana Electronic" are easily the album's highlights, combining comfortable rock backdrops with some razor-sharp RZA verses. Banks & Steelz picked their guests wisely, too. While Kool Keith misses the mark (because he's Kool Keith and hasn't been good for a decade, though no one seems to realise it), Florence Welch and fellow Wu member Ghostface Killah really come through.
The album falters a little when the pace drops. The last few tracks drag on and on, and it's a particular surprise that the final cut — "Point of View," with Method Man and Masta Killah — is almost a slow-dance, with long instrumental noodling and sparse, soporific verses. Still, when Anything But Words ups the pace, it proves to be one of the finest records of the year. (Warner)