In the mists of time, hidden amongst layers of subsequently placed concerns about paying the bills, football statistics and favourite recipes, is the memory of “Dreamland”, the shockingly successful (16 platinum discs, 12 gold, across 21 countries) album from Robert Miles. If you don’t remember him for “Children”, try “One and One”, the follow-up single with the female vocalist….Got it? Good. Now forget all of that, because it won’t help you one bit here.
“Thirteen” is essentially Miles’ “where I am now” album, and as his sixth studio release it is distinctly soft-rock and guitar wig-outs. The licks of guitars are everywhere; reverb on “Somnambulism”, jamming on “Black Rubber”, and fuzzy amongst the tin-pot drums throughout “Archives”. This possibly is some kind of midlife crisis (Miles is 41), for amongst the mild sci-fi hints (an obscured vocal sample features across all songs saying the same thing) and loose feel of a concept album, all the songs here sound like is the forced marriage of dance and lift muzak.
In fairness, this is not the dance music of the contemporary club scene, and should not be compared with that kind of output. Putting the guitars to one side, as one expects should have been suggested by his producers, the tinny drums and basic chillout here is simplistic stuff. It would appear obvious to point out how disappointing this album is, though they do say “Thirteen” is unlucky.