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RED BOX (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Circle & the Square (Sire) 1986 (UK Cherry Red) 2008
Motive (UK Warner Bros.) 1990 (UK Cherry Red) 2011
Plenty (UK Cherry Red) 2011

This fascinating London twosome takes an offbeat and rewarding direction on their first album, folding American Indian (covering Buffy Sainte-Marie in the process) and other ethnic folk influences into sophisticated modern pop creations for an unpredictable and indescribable pan-ethnic mélange. Unlike arid studio-based partnerships, Simon Toulson Clarke (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Julian Close (programming, flute, sax) make warm and varied music, much of it employing a vocal chorus which adds African color. The evocative lyrics bring a global political intelligence to the songs, making them not only appealing but affecting as well. Something like a less stern Peter Gabriel LP, this imaginative and engaging record is simply astonishing.

[Ira Robbins]