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Thursday, August 7, 2003

Review - The Hour of Two Lights

Artist: Terry Hall and Mushtaq

Posted on Thu, Aug 7, 2003 at 4:00 AM

The Hour of Two Lights
Label: EMI
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Hour of Two Lights

As the voice responsible for the alienated shuffle of the Specials' best moments and the pen behind "Our Lips Are Sealed" (not to mention Go-Go Jane Wiedlin's jilted lover), Terry Hall has easily sealed his fate as one of Britain's most admirable sonic chameleons. These days he's friends with Blur's Damon Albarn (who appears briefly here), and as charmingly downcast as ever. As collaborations go -- this being his most ambitious in a career full of them -- "The Hour of Two Lights" works as a stream through the middle of its bold influences: Brit-Asian pioneers Mushtaq, a 12-year-old Lebanese girl singer, a Syrian flautist, Hebrew vocalists, Polish gypsies, the kitchen sink ... . And where such a freak show might confuse to the point of distraction, the parts are artfully pulled into Hall's signature doomsday trance, soundtracking a modern-day paranoia fable involving walls talking, people marching and the wailing cries of broken souls. It's uncomfortable but ultimately enthralling.

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