Red Snapper

When artists make a conscious effort to strike out and do something different, they are sometimes led into the fertile fields of creativity. But they often wind up in the same sonic cul-de-sacs already ruled by other, more interesting bands. For every Beatles, Talk Talk or Moby -- each a study in the developmental arc leading from pop fun to "serious head music" -- there are more self-consciously artistic outfits like Ultramarine, Ministry or Tranquility Bass. Like the bands in the latter group, Red Snapper has abandoned its original programming of trippy, international handbag house and begun exploring the down-tempo, techno-funk of indie-approved dance music. Our Aim Is to Satisfy Red Snapper -- flawlessly self-produced by the band with occasional help from Hugo Nicholson and others -- follows the last releases from Ultramarine and Tranquility Bass by letting "real" instrumentation supersede the "artificial" studio toys of previous recordings. Ali Friend's masterful bass lines, David Ayers's light guitar work and Richard Thair's au natural drum beds combine seamlessly with occasional studio trickery to make what is essentially a progressive jazz record. A really good one, too. But Our Aim has so little to do with the band's mid-'90s mission statement and sounds so similar to output from Massive Attack, Jazzmatazz, Brand New Heavies and a host of other aging units, that it's not really a trip worth taking. Bill Laswell or late-period Miles Davis would be a much better acquisition for that murky section of the home music collection.


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