Jive Records - 2004 - 47 minutes

British Francophiles Kinobe are, thus far, best known for the sun drenched anthem 'Slip Into Something' used in a Kronenbourg ad campaign and every other surf 'n' sun TV package there after. Following a limited edition second album and a hiatus in Toulouse to write and record their third offering, Julius Waters and Mark 'Blackie' Blackburn release 'Wide Open', an altogether more polished enterprise than the 2000 debut, 'Soundphiles'. 

True to its title, this album is expansive, with toned down ambitions and higher production values lending a more holistic feeling to proceedings. The time in France seems to have had an effect. Perhaps it was the Brie and cheap wine or a diet of French electronica, but the opening tracks have a distinct air of Air about them. 'Tired Hearts' would not sound out of place on 'Talkie Walkie' or on the 'Virgin Suicide's soundtrack.

Here, the electronic landscapes are coloured with strings, reggae and rock. The respected vocal talents of Terry Callier and Isobel Campbell (formerly of Belle and Sebastian) add kudos and lift 'Wide Open' above the pool of thrown together 'chill out' on offer. They also insure that this is a more song driven album with recognisable high points. Some of these include the reggae stylings of Shinehead on 'The Contender' and Callier's soulful musings on 'Moonlight and Mescaline'. However, with such highlights the lows seem even closer to the ground with tracks seven to ten sounding like strung together filler.

A shame, given the class and polish of what goes before.

Elizabeth O'Neill

Tracklisting: Luciole - Tired Heart - Slow Motion - I Am One - Moonlight and Mescaline - Keep Playing - Whirling Round - Stay - Vanishing Point - Party Animals - The Contender - Hidden Sun