Picks and Pans Review: The Good the Bad and the Funky
The Tom Tom Club (Rykodisc)
Even the title of this latest from the Tom Tom Club says multiple personality disorder. Each of the band's six members brings an individual flair to the CD's eclectic offerings. Blending organ, guitar, bass, DJ scratching, simple lyrics and, yes, even tom-toms, they create a mosh pit of funk, reggae, dance, pop, hip-hop and R&B material. It's a mix that hasn't been heard since the band's last album a full eight years ago. Four of the Club's members have returned from that '92 effort, notably husband-and-wife team Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, former members of the new wave Talking Heads. The hiatus certainly has not affected Frantz and Weymouth's ability to come up with whimsical party music.
The Good's best numbers showcase the mature, soulful vocals of Charles Pettigrew (formerly of Charles and Eddie). His serious grooves, such as "(C'mon) Surrender" and "Holy Water" (about lust and drugs, respectively), may remind you of Al Green. And they certainly contrast with a tune like "Who Feelin' It," which is nearly weightless. There may be something for everybody here stylistically, but the album's 10 original and two cover tracks are not uniformly well-done.
Bottom Line: The wacky, the engaging and the uneven
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