Plaid's second full-length release, Not for Threes, is separated from its predecessor by one of the most celebrated side trips in electronic listening music's brief but broad history. As members of the Black Dog, Ed Handley and Andy Turner (together with Ken Downie) helped set the standard for experimental techno, bringing a daring range of influences together in a space consistently characterized by quality and innovation. As such, great things were expected of Threes, and with a couple exceptions, the pair delivers. Although treading far closer than any Black Dog material ever did to the sort of pop electronica of Plaid's interim work with Björk (who appears here on the gorgeous "Lilith"), Threes is ambitious on different terms, moving from the abused and distorted breaks of "Extork" and "Prague Radio" to a balanced radio-friendliness that never sacrifices ingenuity for ease. A handful of tracks feature vocals throughout, and while the results had the predictable effect of irritating BD purists, they actually work remarkably well (partly because the tracks contain absolutely no trace of compositional compromise). A few of the tracks ("Headspin," "Abla Eedio," the too-brief "Seph") sit easily beside the very best Black Dog.