Thunderball’s new album for the Washington, D.C.-based label, ESL Music, is slickly produced musical ennui, but it’s not really the trio’s fault. This type of lounge-y, electronic-based “world” music is nice for boutique hotel lobbies, but what’s essentially upgraded elevator music just doesn’t interest or delight at all – not to mention the fact that it’s damn hard to dance to.
So what’s the problem? Maybe it’s Thunderball’s supposed range. The album opens with “Enter the Brahmin,” a sitar-infused breakbeat track that bobs along, never breaking midtempo. Jump forward a few tracks to “Dub Science,” and suddenly Thunderball is dipping into reggae and dub with guest vocalist Zeebo crooning about sinsemilla. Then, just to see if you’re paying attention, the group gives you “Low Down Weather,” which is essentially smooth jazz. Sigh. So it goes, and so goes what passes these days for metropolitan, erudite, electronic music.