cirKus - Laylower
It's on the second track of Laylow/Laylower, depending on which version you've decided to listen to first, that you get that sudden 'I recognise that voice' realisation, at least if you were a kid during the late 80s. A quick leaf through the accompanying booklet confirms: one of cirKus, it turns out, is Neneh Cherry, lending her voice here on several tracks. And you thought she'd taken up cooking for a living.
Reviving once hip vocalists isn't the only thing cirKus have in common with Massive Attack. These albums explore similar trip-hop/soul territory. If Laylow shares a lightness with Blue Lines, the re-recorded, slightly heavier versions on Laylower spread on thickly 'live drums, bass, extra guitars, keyboards' in search of a Mezzanine vibe. You're Such An… is the poppiest track and also the most prominent in featuring Cherry's still distinctive voice and attitude, so it's a shame it's one of those cheap-shot-at-crap-blokes songs (like No Scrubs with added swearing).
As with Massive Attack's forgettable 100th Window, Laylow/Laylower serves mainly to remind how flat trip-hop can be when it doesn't quite spark. The fug of an evening's worth of spliffs is sometimes captured well, but don't be surprised when nothing sticks in the head and you lack the motivation to hit repeat.