This new L.A.-based quartet pulls from every genre in the book: R & amp;B, world, hip-hop, rock, jazz, techno, even vintage 60's lounge. The band -- which has been compared to a warmer version of Portishead -- came into being when Rick Torres, Kiran Shahani and Ramin Sakurai were recording a rap demo and asked friend Geri Soriano-Lightwood to take a shot at laying her lyrics and voice over the tracks. The chemistry was easy, the result sublime.
Influenced by a diversity of world heritage from Iran to India to Ireland, the songs on their self-titled debut show off the group's international flair. "Strangelove Addiction" begins with a haunting sitar instrumental that breaks into a hard-core dance track fast enough to send you spinning. "Truth from Fiction" opens with ethereal orchestrations that dive deep into a drop-bass beat, dragging you through passageways of warm, dark sound. The album's lyrics, too, are emotionally complex, and address everything from disillusionment to ecstasy.
Granted, the rhythms are basic and often repetitive. But SBL overlays them with funky jazz, creative electronic manipulation and a nuanced sense of sound and movement while avoiding the "too-hip-to-last" trash bin. And with a style this strong, they can afford to repeat, repeat, repeat. & lt;BR & & & -- Andrea Palpant & &