In music, as in so many other areas of life, timing is everything. What might have appeared cutting edge in January can already appear tired come the summer. So JOL’s smooth coffee table stylings nearly a decade after the event sound like the fossilised remains of some unreleased Kruder & Dorfmeister out-takes, found festering away in a central European recording studio.
Taken individually there’s nothing here to particularly trouble the ear. The drums clatter away, there’s the odd electro murmur to keep things novel and even the beige-toned, jazz funk bass and keyboards are tolerable in three minute bursts. But when taken as a whole and stretched over the course of an entire album the overwhelming blandness of it all all just becomes too much to bear.
The problem is not so much that at any moment you expect the empress of middle of the road soul, Sad�, to start trilling away, but rather that you have the sneaking suspiscion that if she did, it would actually improve matters.
To be fair, if you just want some vaguely credible background music to soundtrack your dinner parties in Islington, there’s nothing on this disc that will get in the way of digetsion or rudely intrude on a debate of the merits of various local schools, but that’s little to recommend it really.
All in all, a smart sophisticated album that never once threatens to engage the soul. Perfect for those that don’t actually like music too much, but still fill the need to make an effort occassionally.