[2 July 2008]
After six Ping Pong Orchestra albums Shawn Lee has gone global. Miles of Styles has him reaching to Brazil, Italy and numerous other locales for inspiration. And the multi-instrumentalist hits on the different flavors with precision and creativity for the perfect counterpart to Ubiquity’s already released Walking Backwards from Clutchy Hopkins. Like Hopkins, Lee’s tracks employ funk (the topnotch “Fly First”) and hints of soul (the smooth “Tokyo Dancer”) as they trot from continent to continent. He even does his best Gorillaz impression on “Bathtub Dub”, one of the album’s best. Other standouts are the pace-changing and rocking “Dinosaur Island” and the hip-hop banger “Greekout”. Lee only stumbles when some tracks, like “Phoenix Firebird”, chug along. But for the most part, he does his international thing and he does it well. Miles of Styles is the kind of record you can bump whenever and wherever without fear of embarrassment. If anything, you might inspire someone to check it out for his or herself.