This nominal debut is David Sylvian's return to Technicolor after the monochromatic minimalism of his previous, largely improvised, album. Here he is collaborating with former Japan bandmate (and brother) Steve Jansen and laptop eccentric Burnt Friedman. The extravagant melodic gifts that grace Secrets of the Beehive, his masterpiece, are muted, and this is a less obviously satisfying record. But the raft of auxiliary musicians, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, create subtle eddies, intensifying the smoky, ominous atmosphere. Sylvian's voice is still an elegant chocolate swoon, the perfect partner for Stina Nordenstam's frosting on Wonderful World (no, not that one) - exquisitely weary but never jaded. The most affecting song finds Sylvian musing wryly on ageing, memory and regret in A History of Holes. The tunes rarely do more than nag away gently, but then this is esoteric meta-pop, not Motown.
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