Shpongle - Nothing Lasts… But Nothing Is Lost (Twisted)


Author: Damion
Date: Jun 16, 2005
Views: 2826

Date: Jun 16, 2005
Text: Damion
Taken from:
Vote: 9/10

Oddities abound. While Nothing Lasts is probably the most-anticipated release since god knows what (erm… the last Shpongle album?), its hype dwarves next to that dished out for recent-ish albums by the likes of Infected Mushroom. Admittedly there’s a difference, in that we actually wanted this album: talk of Nothing Lasts started ages ago, and when the tracklist appeared on internet forums last year, speculation that the 20 tracks would equate to a double or even a triple CD fuelled much OMG!!!’ing and an equal amount of subsequent calm-down FFS’ing. The idea of 20 tracks squeezed onto one CD is something we may as well do away with immediately – if you ask me, they’re just 20 track names they wanted to fit in somewhere along the line, a good mix of puns (The Stamen Of The Shaman, Schnitl’d In The Negev, Linguisti c Mystic) and nod-to-the-hippy ambienttrance staples (Invocation, Periscopes Of Consciousness, Circuits Of The Imagination). See what I mean? Meaningless. As much is evident when what you and I know as last year’s Beija Flor single here takes up no less than three tracks on the album. And likewise, through the album, “songs” and themes and basslines and ideas, all stretch over trackmarks as though they were stuck in there in preproduction by a team of mice with ADD. Solution: whether you look at it as seven tracks split into three movements, three tracks split into seven movements, one track split into 20 movements, or indeed twenty bloody tracks all mixed in together…. none of it matters one jot. Okay? Musically, it’s more accessible and less poncey than Tales Of The Inexpressible (no “look what we can do with a bunch of people chanting” here) and less washed-out bong n’hammock than Are You Shpongled. Musically, it’s possibly their best accomplishment yet – the technical ins and outs around Schmaltz Herring and Schnitzl’d are particularly impressive, and in many places you’d be forgiven for thinking that Jerry Garcia had come back from the grave and guested with the two of them. The Stamen Of The Shaman and Circuits Of The Imagination push into an ethno-world-music envelope, executed in a more restrained way than those tunes on Tales of The Inexpressible, and all the better for it. The latter, through Linguistic Mystic, picks up a bassline incredibly similar to Massive Attack’s Safe From Harm, and by the time it slides through Mentalism, we witnessed possibly their finest hour – sublime flute from Raja (well done that man), superlatively organic and otherworldly production from Simon and a twisting, effortless changeling vibe to it make for some seriously good music. Random hippy wailing (which is actually quite alright) leads into Molecular Superstructure, sounding like Hallucinogen and McKenna are haunting a slowed-down Fela Kuti record. It drops into a very nice metallic 4-4 that’s pure Lone Deranger, a theme that’s continued into the funked-up, semi-suomi breaks of Turn Up The Silence. Glitchy breakage comes into play again on the final run of the album, ten minutes worth of sheer lie-back-and-appreciate-the-wizardry (note psyreviews was careful there not to use the word “genius”.) The last movement is, for my money, the most accomplished thing they’ve recorded since Divine Moments. The wandering lead guitar again sounds like Garcia is back (this is a good thing), and even the few seconds where the chuggy guitar dominates is bearable by what comes after it, a swirling peak of sounds and drops which nobody else could get away with. By the end of the album, you’re genuinely left feeling a little bit sad. I’ll take my hat off to them, the trilogy idea seems very naff in an Emerson Lake & Palmer sort of way, but they’ve done it and they’ve done it credibly. While it may not tickle your brain in the same way as Are You Shpongle d, and it won’t go down as well in your Wednesday night Salsa class as Tales…, this is still one of the finest CDs I’ve heard in a long time. Where the boys will go after this is anybody’s guess, but I do know one thing: If you don’t have all three albums in your collection, then when your kids reach sixteen they’ll think you’re square. And we can’t have that.

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