Kokopelli

by: Kosheen

Putting drum'n'bass back on the map for the first time since Roni Size four years earlier, Kosheen's debut album, Resist, was a surprising commercial success back in 2001. Combining dark brooding basslines, high-octane breakbeats, and Sian Evans' distinctive vocals, it cleverly managed to appeal to both dance aficionados and mainstream radio, notching up sales of nearly half a million in the process. Follow-up Kokopelli, named after a mythical Native American flute player, sees the trio ditching its programming tools in favor of guitars to create a more expansive sound that often leans toward goth rock, with the menacing atmospherics still intact but the rough edges smoothed out. Indeed, the majority of the album follows a formula of crunching guitars, minimal electronica, and doom-laden lyrics that does not show off Evans, one of Britain's most underrated vocalists, to her best advantage. The album is convincing, however, when it abandons its Evanescence-lite attempts at metal. "Coming Home" may be a retread of the epic "Hungry," but its melancholic, acoustic vibe is welcome, while lead single "All in My Head," with its upbeat radio-friendly chorus, shows Kosheen are capable of producing great pop with strong melodies. ~ Jon O'Brien

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