Puracane | I've Been Here the Longest

Astraea (2009)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  June 9, 2009
3.5 3.5 Stars

Released by San Francisco groove merchants Ubiquity almost a decade ago, Puracane's debut Things You Should Leave Alone was an interesting if oddly timed proposition. David Biegel and Ali Rogers (a sometime associate of Tricky) applied the winning producer/chanteuse formula of Yaz and Everything But the Girl to a trip-hop project just as Portishead were going on their extended hiatus and Massive Attack were undergoing drastic personnel and style changes.

Through different recording and touring incarnations, the stunning Rogers kept the flag of 1990s Bristol downtempo flying in thick and thin, even surviving Biegel's desertion. After a period in limbo, the singer has now settled in New York and recruited ace Argentine guitarist and producer Juan Masotta (a Berklee alum) as new partner in crime.

This long awaited follow-up to Things . . . should delight those Portishead fans disappointed by the experiments on their Third. Blessed with a more muscular version of Beth Gibbons's voice, Rogers unravels her tales of survival over lush tracks festooned with Masotta's understated virtuosity. The album approaches its unabashed mood of druggy romanticism from many angles ("Watershed" could easily be a demo for one of the better recent Madonna ballads), finally dissolving in the warm haze of "Sirens" (a folkish chant from Wicker Man country) and the jazzy smoke of "Riddle Me This."
Related: Tricky | Knowle West Boy, Slideshow: Tricky at the Roxy, Steven Wright | I Have a Pony, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Beth Gibbons, Portishead, Massive Attack,  More more >
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