Thievery Corporation - The Temple of I & I - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Thievery Corporation - The Temple of I & I

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2017-02-10

On their latest set, The Temple of I & I, Thievery Corporation duo Rob Garza and Eric Hilton sound dubbier than ever, which makes complete sense, since they recorded the album in Jamaica.

The set leads with 'Thief Rocker', an incredibly smooth, lounging tune powered by groovy keys, deep bass, and guest vocals by Zee. It's followed by 'Letter to the Editor', led by Racquel Jones rapping in the verses and singing in the choruses. A cute little 8-bit melody winds its way through most of the track, and the beat keeps the whole thing bumping and the head bobbing. The music clashes strongly with the bitter political tone of the song, in a good way. She returns to sing the super dubby 'Road Block', which, like many of tracks, includes a hefty dose of horns in the chorus. The verses are sublimely blunted, such that I can feel myself catching a contact high just from listening.

Things slide off into more of a straight reggae sound with 'Strike the Root', with a horn section that starts out sounding like, I swear, the 'Force Theme' from Star Wars, before breaking off into something completely different. The usual reggae guitar stabs move the track along steadily, and vocalist Notch legitimizes the track with his soulful singing. 'True Sons of Zion' is very similar, with ultra smooth bass helping to drive the song and more horns in the chorus playing in time with Notch, who does another fine job here.

Things take a harder, or perhaps darker, turn with 'Ghetto Matrix', a song that feels jazzier and a bit like old school rap. Vocals on this a handful of other tunes are provided by Mr. Lif, which is a match made in heaven, as both he and Thievery Corporation are deeply political and run in the same philosophical circles. Thankfully, the music works too, with a soaring chorus that belies the grim lyrics. He's back later in the set and totally on point on 'Fight to Survive', which brings in some awesome echoing dub but also adds some fun electronics, making it one of the few tracks that nods more in that direction.

The title track still has aspects of dub, but gets much spacier with the effects, and features a lot more electronic elements, with shimmering synths and pads flowing in and out of the main melody. But it's something of a standout in that regard. Almost everything else here stays in the Caribbean, with lots of island flavor: horn sections, slow muted bass, sprinkles of guitar, and echoing percussion.

It's easy listening, in a way, and the album is pretty solid, but through the middle third, after the taste of diversity provided by the title track, it does start to wear out its welcome just a bit. Luckily, it recovers again towards the end thanks to the great guest vocalists. I wouldn't call The Temple of I & I Thievery Corporation's best work, and it's definitely not a major departure, but it's an interesting progression nonetheless, and worth checking out for fans.

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0 out of 5 stars