From the opening cinematic sweep of "North Part 1 & 2" to the dervish of "Colossus," Afro Celt Sound System's third album maps out its terrain where Irish bodhrans and uilleann pipes dance with Af

From the opening cinematic sweep of "North Part 1 & 2" to the dervish of "Colossus," Afro Celt Sound System's third album maps out its terrain where Irish bodhrans and uilleann pipes dance with African koras and djembes, all riveted to an electronica spine. Attempts to stretch that sound are interesting, but tangential. Peter Gabriel's lead vocal on "When You're Falling," sends the System into a lighter, Afro-pop direction that seems to have dropped in from another album entirely. Likewise, the acoustic guitar-driven "Life Begin Again," with a heroic vocal from Robert Plant, could've been an epic from Led Zeppelin's fourth album. But these diversions don't shake Afro Celt off the trail, especially on the Iarla O'Lionaird-fronted "Lagan" and the haunting album closer, "Onwards," a serene ballad sung by N'Faly Kouyate. Further in Time, Afro Celt's first album of the 21st century, is right on time.—JD