Nathaniel Merriweather Lovage: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By

Dan the Automator has made it known that he doesn't really care to work with hip-hop artists much these days. He proved that with Gorillaz, opting for pop and rock stars with a lone MC in Del the Funky Homosapien. Gone for now are the days of hip-hop masterpieces like Dr. Octogan and Deltron 3030 and now a new wave of pop-producing has entered Automator's bloodstream - luckily he's very good at it. Lovage is a continuation of Automator and Prince Paul's Handsome Boy Modeling School effort and is an odd collaboration of Mike Patton of Fantômas and Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields sharing sex-soaked vocals over slow hip-hop beats with Kid Koala on the occasional cuts. Without Prince Paul and the variety of vocal duties that Handsome Boy had, Lovage seems a little one-dimensional at times. But once you let yourself get used to Patton and Charles's vocals then you can start to enjoy some of the other qualities of the album, such as the top-notch beats. Automator has never skimmed on what makes him so great, and that's the ability to create sensational musical patterns, even though the cuts found here are definitely on the more slow and sexy side. Though not as amazing as past works, Lovage is definitely more fulfilling and deeper than Gorillaz, thanks to Damon Albarn being reduced to a short narrative this time around. (Tommy Boy)