Music Reviews

The Funky Lowlives


Stereo Deluxe

Over 30 years ago, the prophet Putney Swope laid down the law: “The Boorman 6 Girl has got to have soul. Got to have soul.” That moral imperative, while having been lost by most R&B heads in the States, continues to be heeded in the UK. The Funky Lowlives (the duo of Danks and Whitehouse) are among the acolytes of soul who groove with electronic ease and millennial style. Cartouche is a smooth groove-fest with more soul than purgatory. The Lowlives have a sophisticated, nu-jazz style that’s imbued with an icy passion that overwhelms the listener with every note.

The disc starts off with “Saturn Return,” an Afro-Brazilian hipster joint, overflowing with astral dreaminess and funk-jazz solidity. Nappy G. rhymes on “Urban Illusion” to acid jazz perfection. “Cumagain” is a nu jazz dance floor scorcher.

But what has to be the most precious gift inscribed on Cartouche has got to be the strawberries-and-cream vocals of Clare Szembek. She has a stylish larynx that reverberates with a seductive cool. Dreamy and alluring, she’s a modern-day siren whose every note tickles the libido. On “Breathless” her sexy somnambulance just glides along the mournful ether. “Irreplaceable” has her imploring with an Ice Queen calm that is full of succubus haunting. With a playful Badu-ish feel, Szembek really thunks her hooks into your heart in “Games We Play.”

Light as helium and deeper than the Earth’s core, Cartouche is a true treat that would put a smile on Master Swope’s gruff face.

Stereo Deluxe:

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