Easy, Promiscuous Listening
Album Review - inc. - no world (February 18, 2013 on 4AD)
If there’s always room for a sultry ’80s-eque slow jam on your mix tape, you will definitely want to pick up Andrew and Daniel Aged (aka inc.) before picking up your button-down silk shirt and dust-busting your Iroc Z with the plug-in coconut air freshener.
no world, the group’s full-length debut, was written, recorded and mixed exclusively by the Aged brothers. Sound ambitious? Maybe. However, these aren’t your average R&B-loving, GarageBand dabblers, reclaiming soul with a sample of “Sexual Healing” – they’ve put in their time prior to putting out these 11 mood-setting tracks. Their impressive session/touring career includes recording with Elton John, Beck and Cee Lo Green (amongst others); a few gigs and recordings under the name Teen Inc.; and a few singles surfacing (under the inc. moniker) over the years have lent an air of expectancy to the release of this album.
The anticipation isn’t without reward – this is a classically seductive throwback that is easy to listen to. Andrew’s passionate, tender vocals are featured with each song, while Daniel has done a fine job of maintaining a smoothly provocative rhythm and amorous tone throughout. The opening track, “the place”, along with “lifetime” and “angel” offer catchy hooks and will not sound out of place on pop radio when they find some airtime.
Each song offers an unobtrusive, throbbing beat.
Each song showcase a whisper-soft melody, accented with some genuinely pleasant harmonies.
Each song ends with the almost indiscernible, yet rarely disappointing, studio fade of the solo drum.
Regrettably (though perhaps unsurprisingly), upon first, third, or tenth listen, each song is barely distinguishable from the next. Then again, depending upon the context in which you generally enjoy your tunes, this may be considered a good thing – looking for a provocatively arousing take on your hatha/yin soundtrack? This will definitely aid in juicing the blood to some of those neglected areas. Like to slide into your own mindscape on the Expo Line out to Surrey? This will gently coax you to close your eyes and relax for the journey. Preparing for that all-important “cooking dinner at home” fourth or fifth date? Download this and hit play… and leave it on repeat.
The collection is undeniably most enjoyed when doing something else. Anything else. Homework, gardening, dishes, and laundry will benefit from a tantalizing soundtrack as equally as a well-choreographed make-out will. The album also excels in the supporting role of backseat, low-key companion to whatever is fully holding your consideration and contemplation.
If you choose to closely examine the album as a standalone object, you find the understated, balanced tracks are pleasantly reminiscent of Prince during his sexy years (I know, I know… which ones weren’t? Think “Most Beautiful Girl in the World”), while some of the more explicitly obvious tiptoe dangerously close to Flight of the Concords territory (Think “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”).
So, don’t examine it closely – it misses the point. Dim the lights, light some candles, dig out the fondue set and chill out. It’s a great album… as long as you aren’t listening too hard.