No ordinary chill-out act, Bent have improved immeasurably on their debut, Programmed to Love, with an album of strange eccentric beauty and shimmering detail. ‘King Wisp’ opens things gently with ethereal gospel voices and aquatic strings. ‘An Ordinary Day’ pitches a heavily distorted soulful vocal sample over disco rhythms, pumping basslines and bubbling synths, a formula that is repeated successfully throughout the album. What sets Bent asides from, say, Zero Seven, however, is their bold use of (albeit sampled) vocal contributions. Furthermore, their ‘borrowed’ vocals are employed to a subtler and more structured effect than the wacky student enterprise that is Lemon Jelly. ‘So Long Without You’ is a mutant disco/country hybrid centred around the unlikely tones of Billie Jo Spears that really shouldn’t work. The blend of southern ‘twang’, warped keyboards and mournful trumpet into the warm, heavily distorted production is strangely uplifting without being cheesy. Similarly, ‘Stay The Same’ is a piece of soaring electroclash centred around a David Essex vocal that turns into a symphonic, layered beauty, and is a true original. Although a number of tracks are vapid chill-out fodder, there is plenty to recommend, including the Hawaiian lilt of’Moonbeams’ and the dramatic crescendo of the title track. The best of the bunch.