In a world where the trip-hop
genre is full of rhythmic and filimic atmospherics Alpha's 1997
debut album 'Come From Heaven' conveyed a great strength of
feeling; offering heart-breaking melodies helped along by Burt
Bacharach samples and some outstanding vocal performances. Four
years down the line the formula has changed somewhat and become
far less sample heavy; making way for a brought-in orchestra.
Under the self-enforced pressure of conjuring up their own tunes
many of the tracks here struggle to rise above string-laden
ordinariness. The general air of dreaminess encapsulated on the
first album has now become soporific where memorable moments are
few and far between. True, there are some good peformances here,
most notably the other-wordly choir on the finale 'Fort', Martin
Barnard's vocals on 'Dim' and Clear Sky' and the otherwise
workmanlike outing for Wendy Stubbs on the Broadcast-like 'Eon'
but even these fail to reach the heights of their previous work.
Next time it is hoped that Alpha can recover their former sense
of orginality and brilliance because this has to go down as a