Conjure One has finally released a new album. Their namesake first album easily competes with Hybrid, E.S. Posthumus, and Chicane for most-played in my music collection. Others seem equally impressed with their first offerings, as well: A simple search on your favorite P2P network will turn up dozens of remixes for “Center of the Sun,” “Tears from the Moon,” and “Sleep.” Amazingly, the originals are just as good as the mixes.
The new album is titled Extraordinary Ways, and much to my dismay it falls far short of its predecessor. Thankfully, the vocals that so marked the gems of the first album, both powerful and haunting, are still present; but they are squandered on uninspired melodies, clumsy lyrics, and simplistic beats. In a bitter coincidence, the title song, “Extraordinary Ways” (Track 7), itself exemplifies the failure to satisfy which mars the rest of the album.
The only bright spot is “One World” (Track 4). A well-structured melody and clever lyrics are harmonized flawlessly with the instrumentals into an almost flawless example of what this album should have been. But in the end, like the team that loses the championship game, the pain of such almost-success dashes any enjoyment of what actually was accomplished - only the sting of disappointment is palpable.
So the verdict? Pass on buying the album - but download “One World” from iTunes and pretend it’s from the first album instead.