Nu-soul, UK style

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Chungking – We Travel Fast

Jazz-funky torch songs sung by vampish frontwoman? In 2003? Anyone? Those anticipating a gabba freakout or speed-metal oblivion from the title will be disappointed by Brighton collective Chungking’s debut album. The more forgiving listener, though, will be rewarded with a refreshingly expansive take on the Portishead/Morcheeba template. Chanteuse Jessie Banks has an impressively mellifluous voice, while the music, as on “We Love You”, occasionally approaches the immaculate slickness of Aja-era Steely Dan. “Angel Eyes” is the standout, and soars into Cinematic Orchestra league with its meld of antique synthetics and lush orchestration, while the rest gives off a studied, smoky insouciance. 007 composer David Arnold should be taking notes.