April 07, 2003

Sidone "Let it Flow"

Electronica laced Britpop with a heavy-duty dose of Indian rhythms made by three blokes from Spain. Hello...are you still reading? Believe me, you need to keep on reading, because Sidonie's debut album, Let It Flow, is one of the best records I've heard in ages, and I'm pretty sure that you'll be enthralled from listen number one as well. Best part? It never delves into new-age, hippie-dippy World music territory, either.

Instead of the novelty of World Music, Sidonie's sound is quite sincere. It's all over the place, yet it follows some pretty traditional styles, the main one being Britpop. If you ever wondered what Stone Roses would have sounded like if they'd gotten really funky, this is the proof. It's dancefloor-ready, but it's not at all vapid or unpleasant. "Love" and "Cry" are pretty straightforward, with mere smudges of an Eastern flavor. When you reach their cover of Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger," everything changes. Their cover nearly a note-for-note faithful version, yet somehow their version of it is better, but the Eastern instruments really change the dynamic of the song, and the passive singing really blends quite well, making the song a quite hypnotic number.

From that point, you're going to remain hypnotized, because Sidonie has thus released a multicolored-and-narcotic cloud of smoke, and your senses are certainly not sure of what is going to happen next. Songs are simply mind-bending. "Sidonie Goes to Varanasi" is the hard-driving sitar, tabla, and chant-dance number that you're hoping for, and the driving "Sidonie Goes to London" is a curry-laced Chemical Brothers hit that somehow never made it out of India. The album closes with "Entertainment," which is pure dance-pop that sounds like Erasure, with hints of silly Tom-Tom Club antics. Surprisingly, they never get close to sounding like the acts you'd think they'd sound like, Asian Dub Foundation or Cornershop. Why? It's simple--they're better!

If I were to say to you that I'm eager to hear more, I'd be lying. I'm not eager, I'm not impatient--I'm simply trying not to think about it, because I'd go crazy if I did, so I'm simply going to wear the hell out of this record. I just hope that their next record has more intense sitar attacks--because the two on here are simply too short, and I want more! This is one of the most impressive records to come out this year, period, and it behooves you to seek this record out now. It will serve you well, it will bring you peace, it will make you smarter. Yeah, it's one of those records.

--Joseph Kyle

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