(Herald rating: * * * )

The Stereo MC's return, errant apostrophe intact, sounding like their near-decade-long hiatus hadn't happened.

Which is oddly refreshing given that their original blueprint of Britsoul gone hip-hop was equal parts groove and pop genius at the time. Now it sounds almost classic.


However, the problem on what could have been their album 18 months after the release of Connected isn't one of feel but of stand-out songs.

There's just not much happening on the top of these familiar grooves that grips, which might be blamed on their scrawny frontman Rob Birch, whose sloganeering, homily-heavy lyrics don't quite make the hooks that they once did.

We Belong In this World Together does come with a certain spark, and there's a similar amount of voltage achieved by the headlong rush of Running, as well as the brass-blasted number Graffiti Part One.

But it has far too many lacklustre moments too, which don't help to keep the overwhelming whiff of nostalgia away.

An admirable comeback all the same, if one that wants to party like it's 1995.

Label: Island