Everything that Scott Herren records under the name Prefuse 73 is impeccably produced and pleasingly melodic. Unfortunately, for this listener at least, he hasn't been served well by all the hype surrounding this album and 2001's slightly superior "Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives". What we have here is decent instrumental hip-hop with minimal glitch trimmings. The digital acrobatics have been reigned in a bit, compared to the cut-up stutter-fest of "Vocal Studies...", and "One Word Extinguisher" suffers for it. It's exactly this "restraint" and "maturity" that has been praised by some pundits, but to my ears, this lack of surprise exposes the genericism at the heart of this music. If you're a fan of DJ Shadow, or any or the acts in the Ninja Tune stable, this is solid gear. Just don't show up expecting a mind-bending experience. Those who have praised this album in those terms are doing Mr. Herren a disservice, because this music is good for what it is. The beats are funky and tight, the music is "jazzy" (in the smooth, lounge-y, dance music sense), and the guest MCs do a great job. The glitch quivers that inhabit small pockets in the rhythmic matrices are a nice touch, but never approach the multidimensional contortions that made the first album so much fun. Herren has talent, and his past work displayed more than a bit of a personal style, but he needs to chose more imaginative samples and instrumental lines. When the vocalists dominate, this music soars. Herren would make a great hip-hop producer, but like the Neptunes, he stumbles a bit on his own. Plus, the self-serving answering machine track and faux-gangsta "ATL, beyotch!" attitude are beyond dorky.