Nigel Godrich, best known as the long-time producer (and un-official sixth member) of Radiohead, is finally stepping out from Thom Yorke's small, wiry shadow with a new band and album, both called Ultraísta. Fans of the more beat-centric RH material and Yorke's Atoms for Peace project will enjoy the usual bleeps, bloops, and fuzzy synths Godrich specializes in, but Ultraísta's secret weapon is the sexy, subdued coo of singer Laura Bettinson. She elevates these sleek robotic workouts into genuine pop songs, giving the music a much-needed human heart. Key tracks: The brooding "Bad Insect," the jazzy "Party Line," and the twisting, looping "You're Out."
★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)