In general, it's wise to tread carefully around albums that claim to have designs on your soul. In most cases, what they really want to do is smooth over the wrinkles in your brain with vapid mood music while convincing you to buy aromatherapy candles online. This one's different, though. The second compilation from the new Revive the Soul imprint is a two-disc set that is simply titled after the label itself, and divided into two themed programs: "Lounge: Downtempo: NuJazz" and "Electronica: Blip-Pop: Lounge." While there are plenty of very pleasant tracks here (and a few that do flirt with muffin-headed insubstantiality), just about everything on this program stands up to close listening, and some of it is thrilling. On the first disc there's some virtuosic turntablism from both the Herbalizer
("Mr. Chombee Has the Flaw") and Kid Koala
(on the ska-flavored "Spanky Panky"), and a gorgeous slice of Indian electronica courtesy of Atman
("Path of Love"). The second disc brings the funky glitchiness with a fun (but rather dark) number by the Postal Service
titled "Sleeping In" and Ms. John Soda
's slightly twisted "Technicolor," not to mention the Blue States
' dreamy "Alright Today" and the slightly overlong but very pretty "Beauties Can Die" by M83
. None of these tracks has been previously released in the U.S.; that fact, along with the haughty hardback-book packaging, will make you feel even more sophisticated for enjoying the music so much. Which you almost certainly will, even if you aren't very sophisticated at all. Highly recommended.