Thievery Corporation, The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is the latest release by the Thievery Corporation, the most prominent artists in downtempo electronic music. If you enjoyed their two previous albums, the infectious songs on Babylon will linger in your head long after the album is over.

For the most part, this album continues their signature accessible sound: slow laidback hip-hop beats infused with various sampled world music elements carried over with atmospheric melodies and the occasional sultry female vocals. However, there are exceptions to this sound. The opening track is reminiscent of Zero7 and Air, while “Liberation Front” sounds like a groovy funk number, and “Until the Morning,” with Emiliana Torrini on vocals, sounds suspiciously similar to Morcheeba.

What is most admirable is the political nature of the material on Babylon. For instance, “The Richest Man in Babylon” makes reference to globalization and “The State of the Union” is an expression of distress over the corruption and hypocrisy of government. When considered in this context, the music in Babylon is smart, stylish, and sophisticated.

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