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The Richest Man In Babylon

Thievery Corporation

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Album Review

Even more similar to its predecessor, The Mirror Conspiracy, than that one was to the first Thievery Corporation LP, The Richest Man in Babylon provides some beat-heavy, languorous excursions into territory long-favored by Thievery Corporation — namely, the music of Brazil, India, and Jamaica — but doesn't have the hooks or the production finesse to compete with The Mirror Conspiracy. On the opener, "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes," guest Emiliana Torrini treasures her vocals endearingly, but the backing could've been taken wholesale from any of a dozen Thievery productions (or perhaps Air's Moon Safari). "The Outernationalist," a bass-heavy trip into ambient-dub headspace, sounds great too, but it also occupies the same territory as a previous track (2000's "Treasure"). Vocalists LouLou and Pam Bricker both return for two features each, practically indistinguishable from their previous tracks. (Of course, it's difficult to resist a bland sound when the bassline for an entire song, "Un Simple Histoire (A Simple Story)," encompasses only four different notes and continues throughout.) Fortunately, a few tracks on the backside do plow new ground, thanks in part to new guests: "Meu Destino (My Destiny)," with the ephemeral falsetto of Patrick de Santos; "Exilio (Exile)," which introduces Afro-Cuban percussion into the Thievery template; and a great feature for Shinehead on "The State of the Union," while Garza and Hilton throw in a few extra beats (for once). Admittedly, a solid set of treading-water productions is vastly preferred to a bad album, especially on the dancefloor. Sure, it could've been worse, but it also could've been slightly different.

Customer Reviews

A classic

This, in my opinion, is Thievery Corporation's best album. Very great sounding album. Its my favorite.

Great break from the old

I heard this while at a conference in the hotel lobby. Shazam'd it and bought it. Great sound! I usually listen to rock and country. This is a great departure fr the old

Great album, albeit with an element of cheesiness.

I am a big fan of this album. It has some great songs. I first borrowed this album from my library, listened to it, and then chose to buy it. However, I have have always thought that this album has an element of cheesiness for the following reason: It tries too hard to be an album of "international influences." Songs such as Facing East and The Outernationalist exemplify this attribute not only in the title, but in the song itself. These songs are trying to look like they are a result of international influence, when they really just come off as cheesy. I feel that this is a great album, but not because of its apparent international sensitivity.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Electronic

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

Thievery Corporation make abstract, instrumental, midtempo dance music whose classification falls somewhere between trip-hop and acid jazz. Featuring the production skills of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, Thievery Corporation released several warmly received singles on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label (named after their own Washington, D.C. bar and nightclub) in 1996. Although previously known primarily among acid jazz and rare-groove DJs, the group shot to minor celebrity when a track...
Full Bio