Supreme Beings of Leisure Self-Titled
Review by Thom Pugh
Formerly known as the short-lived Oversoul 7, Supreme Beings of Leisure are an intersection pile-up of sound and style that effectively meld their many components into a fine example of musical pluralism. The quartet traces its musical and ethnic roots to such diverse locales as Japan, India, Iran, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and the Dominican Republic, and the unique blend of flavors greatly enriches the album. While it clearly owes much to the likes of Morcheeba and Portishead, the disc is distinctive enough to prevent it from simply blending in to the vast electronic music fold.
The original members of Oversoul 7: Ramin Sakurai, Kiran Shahani, and Rick Torres, are joined by vocalist Geri Soriano-Lightwood, who the band enlisted as she was in the process of recording a solo album. Soriano-Lightwood lends much to the project, from her quirky, yet seductive lyrics to vocals that blessedly stray from the pixie-ish cooings many techno bands are fond of using. Her voice is instead beautifully reedy, even soulful.
Sakurai, Shahani, and Torres, meanwhile, have produced a body of music of dramatically varying styles, yet the result is remarkably cohesive. Don't let the Supreme Beings' freshman status fool you: these guys, especially Torres, are veterans of the electronic scene. The song "Strangelove Addiction" is a prime example, beginning with a nearly minute-long sitar solo, then rapidly shifting gears to a breakneck techno-pop beat, and finally leveling off with a slow, sensuous bit of trance.
Soriano-Lightwood's vocals particularly shine on the retro-ish "Golddigger" and "Never the Same." The first single off the album, "Last Girl on Earth," has an inspired trip hop groove, though it doesn't particularly stand out from much of what you'll find in the genre. "Always the Sun" is a spacey delight of a tune, the kind of track the cast of Space: 1999 might have bobbed their heads to in some Lunar martini lounge when not hard at work exploring the nether regions of the solar system. The breezy, somewhat jazzy "Ain't Got Nothin'" is another bright spot on an album already stuffed with great material.
Supreme Beings of Leisure is highly recommended to anyone who digs good hodge-podge techno, as well as detractors of the genre who claim it's devoid of any true heart and soul.
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