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Layo and Bushwacka! 

Night Works (XL/Beggar's Banquet)

U.K. breakbeat techno duo Layo and Bushwacka! have finally returned, after two years of escalating hype and a label bidding war brought on by their highly acclaimed debut, Low Life. Their sophomore effort, Night Works, is a highly cinematic affair, filled with the type of mood-enhancing sounds that DJ Food is known for. Strangely enough, however, each of Night Works' tracks seems to be taken from a different movie.

There's a campy spaghetti western stand-off ("We Meet at Last"), an apocalyptic sci-fi moment ("Mainlining"), and even the part in the Tom Clancy movie where Jack Ryan decides it's time to kick some terrorist ass ("Let the Good Times Roll"). More impressive are the less obvious numbers, such as "Blind Target," a slow-burning funk jaunt à la David Holmes that would sound right at home in a Steven Soderbergh surveillance montage, or "Shining Through," whose tabla-fueled Asian chase scene winds up in shimmering synth territory reminiscent of Underworld. Layo and Bushwacka! disappoint only on "Ladies and Gentlemen" and "Sleepy Language," where they play up the scratching and über-flanged guitars, cranking out big-beat crap as if they're bidding for a job scoring the sequel to Gone in 60 Seconds or Swordfish.

More by Steve Boughton

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