Moby, "Wait For Me"

70 Billboard Rating

An about-face from last year's dancefloor-ready "Last Night," Moby's ninth studio album, "Wait for Me," is a study in melancholy. Listeners won't hear reverberating 4/4 kick drums, hooky choruses or cooing club girls. And, unlike 1999's groundbreaking "Play," there aren't any gospel-blues samples dressed in pretty electronic clothing. This is Moby without his usual bag of tricks; the material rings truer than any of his previous work. From the opener "Division"-two earnest minutes of tremulous strings-into "Pale Horses," which sounds like a Moby remix of a PJ Harvey/John Parish collaboration (tragic lyrics and operatic synth swells), Moby sets a path through cinematic territory. R&B/soul singer Leela James lends vocals to "Walk With Me," which recalls the expansive work of the Brit outfit Cinematic Orchestra. The title track references Tori Amos, with urgent grand-piano arpeggios. "Hope Is Gone," a muted '50s ballad toward the end of the album, has the same chilling effect that Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" had in the 2003 film "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." Like the indelicately hard stop of the otherwise elegant album closer "Isolate," "Wait for Me" continually surprises.