Many styles and genres but it works.
When looking at the artists name as Various but then finding no further information regarding who has created the individual tracks, it suddenly dawns that the bands name is Various and they are responsible for everything on 'The World Is Gone.' Okay, thats not confusing at all is it?
In a way though, it makes some sense. At the very heart of Various are a duo of Adam and Ian, about whom nothing more is known and their songs are augmented by various singers and a plethora of instruments. The style of the album also varies greatly with many genres and styles being touched upon in the course of the record.
With a handful of vinyl only singles and large praise for these singles from many haarsh critics, the act threatens now to go overboard and for all there is a mysterious edge to the participants of the album, the music contained within features some sign-posted references that allows the listener to delve into the record easily.
With 'Circle of Sorrow' borrowing heavily from the folk movement and 'Don't Ask' gloriously giving some Dub out to the people, theres a strange mix to the early part of the record. After a while, the continuing theme of 1990's trip-hop (with a few updated turns) appears to be the over-riding sound and direction of the record.
With the eclectic nature of the record and the use of guest vocalists, coupled with the Trip-Hop element, there would be a natural leaning to Massive Attack as a reference point to Various. Certainly without any of the Political beliefs shining through on the record or any indication of such, its a musical link to the band and one that places Various in a good light.
'Today' certainly sounds as though it may have been created in Bristol with the backing track phasing in and out of the chilled female vocals and the overall sense of menace that hangs in the air. Reaching the levels of dark paranoia that Massive Attack conjured up on '100th Window', this track is an imppressive standout on an album that doesnt fail to intrigue or invite the listener back for more.
With strings sweeping in and out of the instrumental title track, theres so much going on that one or two listens will not do justice to this record. For having so many different sounds and styles, it manages to fit together quite well and blends together strongly as a complete record.
The term Various may not be such a bad one after all as the album managed to pull off the feel and pace of a compilation album but one that hangs together quite well.