As much as post-NSYNC Justin Timberlake churns out high quality mainstream pop, it’s hard to ignore that ugly vacuous cloud of his past and enjoy him guilt-free. Meet Juvelen, Sweden’s effort to bring sexy back. To be sure, his modern pop sheen shows more Scandinavian restraint than Timbaland’s ghetto fabulousness, but the spirit is the same. Equal parts asses-moving and hips-grinding, these songs are more indebted to Prince than the King of Pop. Opening track “Hanna” steals the spotlight right from its opening moments and refuses to let go. A metronomic drum beat, tasteful walking bass line, funk guitar jostle and subtle synth melodies are a perfect stolen ’80s palette for Juvelen’s completely un-male falsetto plea. In a perfect world, it would be an assured worldwide club hit. The follow-up, “Summer – Spring,” is one of the grinders, co-opting sticky keyboard whooshes, synth steel drums, a heartbeat bass line and whispered invitations for reconciliations. The uncluttered, pristine arrangements on “Watch Your Step” feels the most true to Juvelen’s Swedish pop roots, but his staccato, borderline rapped lyrics are pure “Billy Jean” genius. The remix of this track by Revl9n that closes the disc has a much harder edge and darker tone that seems to recall the grittier streets of Berlin’s electronic scene. Rounding out the EP, “Of Course I Remember” is a slow jam of romance/nostalgia that could’ve come from a deleted scene from Purple Rain. I realize, as an American, my sexy has unavoidably already been brought, but if ever given the opportunity to swap for a new sexy, I’m going to choose this one.

Hybris: www.hybrism.com

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