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Courtesy of Choice

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Album Review

Leila and Like Weather were the recipients of a massive amount of critical acclaim upon release. Courtesy of Choice is probably not the best way to follow up a critically acclaimed album. The problem is that the material isn't memorable and it doesn't take enough of a stance in any one genre to make much of an impact. There are drum'n'bass elements intermingled with house and jazz noodlings, but the overall effect is more of a drugged stupor than the desired atmospheric soundscape. Certain songs pick up steam and impress; "Different Time" is one such song, but Plaid is credited with help on the track, so it's hard to say who deserves credit for its interesting sounds. "Brave" is another compelling song, starting out as a twinkling lullaby before laying on some genuinely creepy vocals and musical effects. The overall misstep of the album is that the instrumental songs fall a bit flat. The songs with vocals, such as "Sodastream" and "Different Time," benefit not only from the vocals but more impressive moods and stronger melodies as well. Another minor fault with the material is that Leila seems to be trying quite hard to present warped, scary mood pieces, but it's something she can't sustain from track to track, let alone the entire album. Sounding a bit too much like an Angelo Badalamenti score gone sour, Leila will hopefully invest more effort in arrangements on future albums. A stab at spooky atmosphere is simply not interesting enough to make a successful album. With less filler, this would have made for a fine mini-album.


Born: 1971 in Iran

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Moving from a supporting keyboard role with Björk and Galliano to put out her own album on Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records, Leila is the rare female electronica songwriter who doesn't sing, choosing instead to use vocals from friends -- and even her own sister -- for her Like Weather long-player. Born in Iran, she spent part of her childhood there but was forced to flee to London with her family. She became interested in DJing as well as keyboards, and left college to play with Björk on her first album,...
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Courtesy of Choice, Leila
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