Various Artists

It's been twelve years since Kevin Shields released the masterpiece Loveless with his band My Bloody Valentine. Since then he has sworn many times to return with a followup, but didn't resurface until one of Hollywood's most promising directors, Sofia Coppola, lured him out of his studio with new, ambient songs in hand for the soundtrack to one of the year's most endearing films, Lost in Translation.

Shields's four new contributions (along with My Bloody Valentine's "Sometimes" from Loveless) set the tone for the album's ethereal atmospherics. "City Girl" possesses a wall of mellow guitar fuzz and breathy vocals that sharply recall his band's penchant for combining lilting waves of glimmering beauty and studio perfection. "Are You Awake?" offers a midtempo dance floor pulse and rudimentary programmed beats. And though "Goodbye" and "Ikebana" are little more than short instrumental cues for the film, they are just as engaging as his prior gentle excursions. Meanwhile other tracks, from the graceful beauty of Air's electronica on "Alone in Kyoto" to Sebastien Tellier's mellow acoustic strum and waves of synths on "Fantino," perfectly complement the soundscape he creates.

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Jeff Skruck