Warners - 2002 - 47 minutes

Morcheeba's last album, 'Fragments of Freedom', gave them their biggest hit and CIE the cheer-up anthem to their train ads ('Rome Wasn't Built in a Day') but its chart-minded direction hardly endeared them to the hacks or, for that matter, long-past complaining passengers.

This time around, it seems like they're asking for another kicking: taking an interest in Brazilian music, naming the album after the country's ten-string guitar and generally giving you those queasy fears that a world music stopoff awaits between the grooves. But don't get the basin just yet because 'Charango' is both a grower and straight-away catchy from song to song.

It's full once again of their brand of drawn out, hazy atmospherics - as exemplified by opener 'Slow Down' - but it also manages to throw some surprises, the biggest of which is the appearance of Kurt Wagner.

'What New York Couples Fight About' finds the Lambchop frontman and singer Skye Edwards arriving at the scene of some domestics and pondering the bust-ups over a spooky acoustic guitar. Wagner then goes for a change of mood by contributing the lyrics to the let's-make-up lullaby, 'Undress Me Now', a great radio song but one not likely to feature on any commuter campaigns any time soon.

Elsewhere, Pace Won from The Outsiderz charges up the atmosphere on 'Get Along' and the title track while expat rapper Slick Rick does his bit to give anyone with a 'does my bum look big in this?' complex even more to worry about on the funky funnies of 'Women Lose Weight'.

But while it's Wagner's appearance that will probably keep the critics quiet (er), the rest of 'Charango' is tough not to like and, crucially, means your local cappuccino haunt will have to invest in a new CD.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Slow Down - Otherwise - Aqualung - Sao Paulo - Charango (feat Pace Won) - What New York Couples Fight About - Undress Me Now - Way Beyond - Women Lose Weight (feat Slick Rick) - Get Along (feat Pace Won) - Public Displays of Affection - The Great London Traffic Warden Massacre