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Electric Honey by Luscious Jackson (Review)

A beat-heated delight that one may hear snippets of amidst the flashing lights of a discotheque.
Electric Honey - Luscious Jackson

Luscious Jackson has recorded a superb pop album that is catchy in every way. Probably the most radio-friendly of their accomplishments, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear “Ladyfingers” appear after a Britney Spears “love” song on the local bubble-gum radio station. Shamefully, it somewhat resembles the teenage pop sound, but Electric Honey is far more complex compared to the Christina Ag-whatever-lera genre of today’s Barbie pop. (Editor’s Note: We wouldn’t be reviewing it if it weren’t.)

Having listened to the ultra-loungy Fever In Fever Out (last album) repeatedly, Electric Honey is quite a contrast to the group’s previous albums. The more pronounced beats and electronics signal a clubbier, more danceable feel. There is a stronger mood of celebration compared to the darker Fever In Fever Out (“Nervous Breakthrough,” “Ladyfingers,” and “Friends”). The songs are catchy, but don’t contain the plastic cheesiness some ex-Menudo member may capture in his song. The brief, playful tunes are just pleasant pop songs encompassing more bass and beats than the usual.

However, there’s still a hint of Luscious Jackson’s darker side in songs like “Christine,” “Alien Lover,” and “Gypsy.” An eerie, Egyptian feel permeates “Christine,” accompanied by a clever bass line and the seductive vocals of Jill Cunniff. On “Alien Lover,” the keyboards add an interplanetary sound. “Gypsy” teeters on an upbeat Massive Attack feel. By far the most mysterious track on the album, “Gypsy” blends slower beats with spookier keys. But even the darkest songs don’t stray too far from the dance floor.

A surf tune with heavy echoing reverb, “Fly,” sounds strange among an array of dance tracks with its Dick Dale approach. An enjoyable track, but also a misplaced one. The album’s closer, “Lover’s Moon,” is a pretty little ditty consisting of acoustic guitar, violin, and Jill’s attractive voice, but feels out of place as well. Excluding the final two tracks, Electric Honey is a beat-heated delight that one may hear snippets of amidst the flashing lights of a discotheque.

Written by Nolan Shigley.

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