Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue (* * * 1/2)

Having released his third and final album for Mush Records less than six months ago, Stephen Wilkinson, the artist and producer known as Bibio, would seem to be pushing his luck by unveiling Ambivalence Avenue, his Warp Records debut, so soon - especially considering the somewhat lukewarm reaction the earlier record received. Granted, it wasn’t a bad album or even a real misstep, but Vignetting the Compost felt light on progress, continuing Wilkinson’s penchant for manipulated guitar compositions over ambient electronic noises and the occasional vocal melody, an intriguing though not entirely engaging approach. Fortunately, this latest effort shows Wilkinson updating his signature sound by both diversifying and expanding his disparate musical influences, proving himself more adept at both ambient folk and funk-infused electronica than his previous work would suggest. The result is an album that suffers from several distinct personalities, but is also more structured and satisfying on a song-for-song basis than anything else in the Bibio catalog. (Continue Reading...)