Picks and Pans Review: 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of...
Crossing flower power with Afrocentrism, this Atlanta-based band might invite comparisons with De La Soul. But its debut album (the title refers to the time between the band's formation and its signing by Chrysalis) has its own signature sound. The three male and three female members practice an unusual country-and-folk-tinged brand of hip-hop (yes, that's a harmonica you occasionally hear). On the first single, "Tennessee," the half-sung, half-rapped delivery of the band's leader, Speech (Todd Thomas), suggests a hayride with Sly Stone and Prince on the buckboard.
In its raps, the band speaks up for black, teen mothers ("Mama's Always on Stage") and in "People Everyday" scolds men who loiter on street corners, "holding their crotches and being obscene." On "Fishin' 4 Religion," Speech, fed up with haranguing preachers, declares, "Does shoutin' bring about the change? I doubt it/ All shoutin' does is make you lose your voice."
Making an auspicious debut, Arrested Development teaches with minimal preaching. (Chrysalis)