Hotel Valentine

Few bands embodied the Nineties' hey-whatever boho freedom like Cibo Matto: two Japanese women living large on the Lower East Side, mixing jazz, dub and lounge pop with a post-Beasties hip-hop swizzle. Their bright sound is a touch moodier on their first album in 15 years, as Miho Hatori drops doleful stoner whimsy over keyboardist-producer Yuka Honda's languid boom-bap. Members of Wilco and Atoms for Peace highlight an ace crew of backing musicians on what turns out to be a concept record about two ghosts haunting a New York hotel. "I closed my eyes/I took your weed," Hatori whisper-raps on the cunning "Housekeeping." Clearly, they put it to good use.

From The Archives Issue 1203: February 27, 2014