Thievery Corporation The Mirror Conspiracy

Rollin' in with a sound that Thievery fans will recognise from its first dubbed-out musical moments, The Mirror Conspiracy does not disappoint. While there are no real surprises or shake-ups in sound here, repeat listens reveal the work of producers digging deep to offer up new textures and detailing. Eric Hilton and Rob Garza are clearly honing in on their craft throughout album number two, staying true to their mutual appreciation for blissed-out beats, international influences and soundtrack styling while expanding on the subtlety factor. "Le Monde" sets the (completely chilled) pace, with the lovely vocals of Lou Lou gliding over deep, dubby bass lines and sparse, sweet production. "Air Batucada" and "So Com Voce" continue the theme of Thievery's adoration for Brazilian music, with the latter featuring the vocals of returning collaborator Bebel Gilberto. The boys' fascination with Indian and Arabic music is also obvious, personified here by pieces such as "Indra," "Illumination" and the rich, laid-back "Lebanese Blonde," where live sitar, horns and percussion add a whole new layer to the subtle, tight programming, and the Sade-like vocals of Pam Bricker. "Focus on Sight" ups the tempo, gets a bit funky and features the rich voices of rasta duo See-I. The highly hummable "Shadows of Ourselves" takes the brownie though; the epitome of Thievery Corporation's sound, this dubby, smooth mid-tempo wonder manages to be both spacious and dense in one breath. (4AD)