Thievery Corporation/Various The Outernational Sound

It’s now been five years since this Washington, DC duo dropped their last mix album courtesy of the DJ Kicks series, and not much has changed. This lack of progression has some benefits as well as faults — we’re guaranteed a pleasant mix from Rob and Eric but can’t help be bored at the same time. The Outernational Sound contains all the usual suspects when it comes to that Thievery sound, grabbing world rhythms from their shelves and blending them with smooth dance numbers and funk bliss. The duo hasn’t really improved on their mixing abilities in the past few years, but their taste more than makes up for their lack of skill, especially when they drop the criminally slept-on Troublemakers after a high-paced dance marathon courtesy of Thunderball. Thievery continues to keep the funk alive with a section of the Breakestra’s "Cramp Your Style” cover that makes way for an incredible hip-hop explosion with Major Force. For the most part though, this mix is background music for you to chill out to. Though all very gorgeous there’s not much excitement to be had within these numbers, which is a shame seeing as Thievery does in fact know how to turn a party out from time to time. Mix records are always a good way for DJs to break out of the mould they set for themselves as a recording artist, so you can’t help wanting a sense of musical adventure rather than listening to a dozen songs by other artists that sound exactly like Thievery Corporation. (ESL)