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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.

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 discothèque.

Written by Nolan Shigley.

Read more about Capitol Records, Electric Honey, and Luscious Jackson.

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