Damn, there is a lot of trip-hop out there that's come out over the course of the past couple years. Although he hasn't released anything since his Angels With Dirty Faces, it seems that Tricky has at least been doing something anyway (as he's always mentioned in the same breath as innovators of the genre, whether it's for his work with Massive Attack or the solo Maxinquaye). Not only did he start the Durban Poison label (that this release is on), but he also does some guestwork on this album.
The Baby Namboos is that style of trip-hop that harkens back to the grimier times. Like Tricky's second disc Pre-Millenium Tension, it's filled with off-kilter beats and a grimier sound overall than most of the fluffier trip-hop that's been coming out as of late. Mainly put together by Mark Porter (Tricky's cousin), it bears more than a passing resemblence to his work. Perhaps the beats and dark sound run in the family?
Despite the rather unweildy title, AnCoats2Zambia is a pretty good release, and might even tide those over waiting for something new from Tricky. After a rather insipid opening "Intro" track (that really isn't needed at all), the album starts rolling with the track "Hard Times" and introduces the listener to singer Aurora Borealis (who makes an appearence in a majority of the songs on the album. Those hoping for another Martina Topley Bird might be disappointed by her vocals, that come across as somewhat whiny, but soulful at the same time. Definitely unique. Musically, the first couple tracks follow in sort of the same territory. They have sort of jangly beats and dark moments with lighter edges.
The album really gets going on the fourth, album-titled track on which at least four different vocalists bust it over a gritty beat and some creepy, lingering sounds. The rest of the album continues on with some good tracks, including the almost uplifting (and another track featuring more than 4 vocalists) "Provoked" and the dark drum and bass of "Trials and Tribulations." The album closes out with two very excellent remixes of the title track by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead) and Dillinja (turning in a dark, jungle-infused version, what else did you expect?). In the end, whether or not you like the album or not will depend on two things; whether or not you like newer work by Tricky and whether or not you like the singer Aurora Borealis. If it's a yes answer to both of these, this album is a must have, but it's not quite the quality of his solo work.