Published Feb 08, 2017They've had no commercial radio hits, no high-end, big-budget videos, no major-label backing. Yet for over 20 years, Thievery Corporation (Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) have managed to continuously pull in a fan base, own and operate their own label, routinely headline major festivals and release album after album, selling millions in the process. Thievery's eclectic and diverse catalogue is exactly why they have an unwavering following; their range can and does appeal to just about everyone.
As the majority of their releases attest, Thievery Corporation have been heavily influenced by Jamaican music, and their latest release, The Temple of I & I, is no exception. Settling in Port Antonio, Jamaica in early 2015, Garza and Hilton set to work laying the foundation for this LP, using the sounds of the island as influence for their brand of lounge-y downtempo (a style they've incorporated elements of reggae, bossa nova, jazz and Middle Eastern music into over the years). Newcomer Racquel Jones found her way onto the album after encountering the duo on their first trip to Port Antonio, her forward delivery helping push the album's political undercurrent on tracks like "Letter to the Editor" and reggae-punched "Road Block."
The rest is standard, welcome fare from Thievery, like the wah pedal and prominent brass throughout "Strike the Root" and "True Sons of Zion," though hazy, instrumental tracks like "Let the Chalice Blaze" and "The Temple of I and I" are a little on the forgettable side. Thankfully, the latter seems to be the exception rather than the rule; generally, The Temple of I & I is another satisfying Thievery Corporation affair. (ESL)