If you go down to the woods today, stick this on your iPod.
Remember that feeling, when you're a child, after your bedtime story had been read and you were just settling down to sleep and your imagination would be running wild with every story that you'd ever been told? Listening to "The Throne Of The Third Heaven Of The Nations' Millennium General Assembly" makes you feel like that. There is still magic in the world, bad things only happen at night, but that's okay because we're all tucked up, safe and sound in our beds. What Le Loup have done is not only release an album of outstanding quality but given us all something that will resonate personally and remind us of more innocent times. And it's incredible.
It seems that Le Loup have read the same hymn sheet as stablemates, The Go! Team. But whereas the latter focus on cooler-than-melting-icecaps fused hip-hop/indie clatter to make an impact, Le Loup are using all of the same pioneering techniques to make a gentler, more thoughtful album of equal hitting effect. "The Throne..." culminates a variety of styles, from classical to contemporary to tell a series of stories, some musical, some lyrical, of wondrous worlds, beings and events. There are moments of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra; Talking Heads are represented, as is Brian Eno. From the delicacy of opener, "Canto I" to the cunning repetition and surprising crescendo of "Outside Of This Car, The End Of The World!" to the sheer magnificence of "Look To The West", this album does not fail or stall at any point. Each song sounds different and offers something slightly new, while closely hugging us with that feeling that it belongs. It is wonderful and warming.
In terms of the impact that an album can have, this is the first to offer something new, refreshing and exciting since The Go! Team's Thunder Lightning Strike album. The fact that "The Throne..." does this without any of the guerrilla tactics of assaulting your eardrums, this is a feat in itself. If there is any justice in the world then this will be huge, something that is raised at dinner parties for years to come when making lists of the top albums of the noughties. A militant Oasis or Hard Fi fan might struggle with the concepts on offer here, but if you have ever had an imagination and love your music, then this is absolutely essential.