With ex-Supreme Being of Leisure Kiran Shahani on music and Shana Halligan on chanteuse vocals, Bitter:Sweet are almost single-handedly keeping the torch alive for jazzy, melodic trip-hop. Their 2006 debut, The Mating Game was good-natured and featured some nifty work from Shahani, but was bogged down by predictability and Halligan’s sex-kitten posturing. The Remix Game lends out each of the album’s 11 tracks to outside producers, who usually don’t mess much with the mildly jazzy, midtempo arrangements. Nicola Conte’s mix of “Heaven” is nice enough, even though it uses a decade-old Kruder & Dorfmeister bossanova sample. Thievery Corporation’s typically smooth “Bittersweet Faith” is probably the best thing here, with a dramatic sweep and sultry bassline, while only the lame hip-hop take on “Our Remains” skirts embarrassment. In another game, Name That Sound, “Moving Forward” recalls Saint Etienne, and “Moody” rips off the Cardigans. By retaining Halligan’s over-manicured vocals on all the tracks, The Remix Game hardly plays to Bitter:Sweet’s strengths, but it’s still a (barely) more satisfying diversion than the original.
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// Notes from the Road
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