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Rope, Inc.

Songs of Love & War

Second Shimmy

The collaboration between famed producer/label head/musician Kramer and Matt Menovcik, the erstwhile front man for Seattle's Seata is a perfect example of why some musicians should not go it alone, despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly easier to do so in our modern age.

Menovcik's songs might be fine on their own, built as they are on his loping electronic beats and gruff, yet assured vocals (which sound eerily similar to former Japan leader David Sylvian). But, with the swirling guitar lines and confident production work of Kramer, the whole album is lifted up and brought firmly into the light.

The whole affair sounds like it was created about 10 years too late though, back when the holy triumvirate of trip-hop -- Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead -- ruled the scene. Several of the tracks, particularly the sensuous "Begin" and the wafting mote of "Strange," sound like knock-offs, overrun with noir-ish atmospherics, but lacking in the menacing, industrial squalor of those artists' signature sounds.

Second Shimmy: www.secondshimmy.com