Album: Le Peuple De L'Herbe <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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It's been a rough time recently for sample/groove artists, with everyone from The Chemical Brothers to Daft Punk falling short of previous standards on their latest releases. Thanks, then, to French crew Le Peuple De L'Herbe for restoring one's faith in the genre with Cube, an album whose blend of techno, hip-hop, rock, garage, dub and jazz recalls Faithless at their best. There's the big-beat techno of "La Musique Electronique", the trip-hop house of "Down By Law", and the human beatbox splutterings of "Boxin' Da Beat" - not forgetting the ridiculous junglist adaptation of "Thank You Very Much" that is "St Cloud". Elsewhere, brass gives several tracks a distinctive sound peculiar to these Gallic grass-lovers: "Gumzilla" is a techno drum'n'bass piece with baritone sax burring darkly in the basement. Elsewhere, snatches of string samples are stirred into the mixes of "El Paso", "Keep Rockin'" and "Déjà à L'Ecole" alongside buzzing synths, and guest rappers providing vocal focus on a few tracks. The best of these is JC 001, whose English is impeccably wielded on "Honesty", which finds him "Saving, craving, Friday night raving/Another week of work to eat away at my savings/Factory fodder/Why do I bother?". Recommended.