Never Never Land Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: U.N.K.L.E. is the pet project of Mo'Wax label head James Lavelle, whose successful 1998 album 'Psyence Fiction' included notable contributions from DJ Shadow, Thom Yorke and Badly Drawn Boy. Guests this time out include Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), Robert "3D" del Naja (Massive Attack), Brian Eno, Ian Brown (Stone Roses), Mani (Stone Roses/Primal Scream) Joel Cadbury (South) and Jarvis Cocker (Pulp). Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Never, Never, Land exposes Lavelle and File as, surprisingly, excellent songwriters with an ear for a good chorus and a knack to fitting performers and material together.
  2. Never, Never, Land not only escapes the expectations and pitfalls that dogged Psyence Fiction, but succeeds on a new set of strengths.
  3. At 60 minutes plus, it’s too long, and neither Cocker and Eno’s ambient doodle nor 3D’s ‘Invasion’ work. But, nonetheless, ‘Never...’ is sleek, deep and full of ideas.
  4. 70
    Never, Never Land doesn't have a single track that comes close to Fiction's epochal "Lonely Soul" or the eerie "Rabbit In Your Headlights," but overall it works more as an album of equal bombast and grandeur. [#13, p.94]
  5. 60
    The pulse underscoring the album keeps it hopping when the songs meander. [Nov 2004, p.142]
  6. Far from being either vindicating or enthralling.
  7. Tends more toward the "dance" elements of IDM than the "intelligent," reducing UNKLE's trip-hop origins and innovative beats to overdrawn synth wank-fests.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. PoldoG.
    Jan 30, 2005
    Whaaat??!? Only one thing. This is by far one of the best CDs of the year 2003.
  2. sebas
    Feb 16, 2004
    another great RECORD like, ie Sonic Youth´s Sister - or DJ Spooky´s DEad Songs - it´s all about mood and vibe - of course , has not single , not radio stuff and definitely not the bland chill out stuff you can hear with shuffle while you do the dishes - NO - this is a record - from beggining, (setting the mood with that guy singing "everything is changes") - then you have to walk along the songs, with your headphones along the nightly sidewalks - hearing - "now even in heaven there are angels carrying heavenly weapons" - sounds very contemporary btw - ah, emotion is back - this is as deep as tricky´s "premillenium tension" or stereotyp´s "my sound" - if you want to listen to a real album, a real work of art made by humans, although using computers maybe , well this is for you - if you want to keep your ears well fed with non invasive generic stuff, well maybe it isnt. Expand
  3. Erich
    Jan 24, 2005
    It has been a long wait in the U.S. for a new UNKLE album and Never, Never, Land does not disappoint. The album is tremendous with 3D's Invasion, Ian Brown on Reign, and Mani on In a State. The album is deep and varied as You listen to Panic Attack you feel as if you may have one, but it is great or you can slow down with What Are You To Me? The album is great Lavelle and co. have put together a memorable album. Expand
  4. MarkT
    Nov 4, 2003
    Unlike many big dance acts Unkle's sound has kept on mutating, never staying too long in one musical place. Just as Massive Attack's sound has changed over the last few years from warm urban/hip hop to icy breakbeat/techno so has the sound of Unkle. The arrival of Richard File into the Unkle set-up has acted as a catalyst to in-house songwriting that has created a more subtle, softer approach than the previous DJ Shadow blend of cut up, Trip Hop breaks. Overall though the same epic sound remains and guests such as Joel Cadbury, and Ian Brown help to keep the album ticking along nicely. The best tracks are Glow and In a State, whilst the collaborations with Josh Homme, Cocker and Eno are indeed a little disappointing. Overall an interesting effort that can get a little overblown in places with celebrity ego and hot air. Expand
    Jan 26, 2005
    DJ Spooky´s getting in a Peter Pan mood but respects the overall sound production quality of an ambiant CD. This is not a commercial album but any song that could merge into Ozzy's ''Changes'' is the genius of the month ! The most exquisite song on the album is definitly GLOW. Expand
  6. brian
    Nov 15, 2004
    compared to its predecessor, this album is a damned JOKE. almost all of the songs take 1:00 or longer to really get started, which is egrossing in a certain context but quickly becomes tiring as you have to listen to 20 or 30 seconds of some piano sample slowed down at the beginning of 'In A State' before you get to the totally unrelated actual song. an overabundance of goofy vocal and spoken word samples lend the album an overproduced, boring feel. the beats are kinda cool, but come nowhere near the brilliance of 'psyence fiction'. wasted cameos from josh homme, brian eno(!) and 3D of massive attack only serve to highlight what this record could have been. although im quite sure it could have been a lot worse. Expand
  7. MacM
    Oct 24, 2003
    The absence of DJ Shadow is as apparant as the absence of dignity from the Pop Idol virus. Every song is like a giant crow trying desperately to take off, flapping it's mighty wings furiously yet frustratingly not quite getting off the ground. The Ian Brown led 'Reign' is the best on offer - greatness which still manages to fall short of his 'Be There' collaboration circa Psyence Fiction. But while Psyence Fiction always was destined to be a tough act to follow (entrenched in my personal top 3 albums of all time), this overpolished but underfinished effort doesn't even relate. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews