Thunderball Cinescope

Although membership on the ESL label will undoubtedly always see the artists winning the runner-up prize to label founders Thievery Corporation, Thunderball are willing to give their bosses a run for their Armanis on latest release Cinescope. Leaving behind the down-tempo, dub, drum & bass, and blaxploitation offerings of their "epic,” in lounge circles, offering Scorpio Rising, five years later the Washington duo offer more worldly sounds in the form of Indian and African rhythms that are definite martini shakers. The problem is that the more danceable songs that open the album, like "The Road to Benares” and "Electric Shaka,” which features the first of a couple unmemorable Afrika Bambaataa appearances, have been done before and offer little to set the band apart from the tons of other lounge beats out there. It is on the second half when Thunderball slows the groove with the sly horns and jazzy film-score atmosphere of instrumentals "The Mysterious Mr. Sandobar” and "Lost Vagueness” that they vaguely reference their previous work while still offering the fresh sounds that ESL has become synonymous for. (ESL)