Will Hermes
June 21, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Concubine Rice

Current Status
In Season
The Lone Pigeon
Pop, Folk

We gave it an A-

The Lone Pigeon Concubine Rice (Domino) The pop myth of the brilliant madman has legs, and here it comes again. In 1996, Gordon Anderson helped found a Scottish space-folk crew called the Pigeons, later renamed the Beta Band. But when the time came to record, Anderson — battling illness — was unable to participate, and his mates soldiered on with-out him. Six years later we finally get to hear what might have been on this solo LP. While the Beta’s trip-hop/hippie pop mainly rides bubble-lamp synths and slapstick drum machines, Concubine Rice preserves the shambling back-porch vibe of the Beta’s earliest material (some of which Anderson cowrote), with melodica and rubbed wineglasses adding lo-tech F/X. The material is wistful and gorgeously Beatlesque, except that Anderson’s ”songs” are often little more than an untethered verse or two. Sometimes this channel-surfing style seems willfully perverse. But since the tunes never quite resolve, it’s hard to tire of them. Scottish MC Battles ”Beatmix Chocbar Rap” trumps his ex-group’s ”The Beta Band Rap,” even though (or because) it forgets the beat half the time.

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