Luscious Jackson have failed to achieve major commercial success despite putting out quality material for most of the decade. Their music, a fusion of rock with elements of r&b and rap, has been a refreshing alternative to the Alanis clones of the mid 90’s and the wispy singer-songerwriters of the Lilith years. The band’s lone flirtation with the mainstream came in 1996 when “Naked Eye” was a Top 40 single and the ladies starred in a popular series of commercials for the Gap. Although “Fever In, Fever Out” went gold and featured some great songs (“Electric”, “Don’t Look Back”, “Under Your Skin” “Why Do I Lie ?” ), none of these became the follow-up hit single that would have assured the album even better sales.

I was at the Wiz the other day, doing my part to help pay the salaries of Larry Johnson, Brian Leetch, Rebecca Lobo, Marv Albert and the guy behind the register by picking out a few cds. Unfortunately, my ‘ticket to entertainment’ had only three of the five albums I was looking for. They did have plenty of copies of the album pictured above, though.

“Electric Honey” is another solid piece of work by LJ and their best album to date by far. The album’s first single “Ladyfingers” and “Sexy Hypnotist” (love that title) showcase the much-improved vocals of Jill Cunniff, while “Summer Daze” and “Friends” bring Gabby Glaser’s trademark low, slow flow to the forefront. When their styles are intermingled, with Cunniff singing hooks and Glaser rapping a verse or two (“Alien Lover”, “Nervous Breakthrough”), the band is at its best. Naturally, all this is set to the sample rich, funky grooves that the band has been known for from the start.

“Fantastic Fabulous” might be the album’s radio song, with Deborah Harry providing the attitude while the ladies rock out for the first time. “Beloved” is a track so pretty that you’re sure to hear it soon as background music for one of those programs where attractive twenty-something actors play attractive teenagers.

Luscious Jackson has succeeded in creating an album that is easily accessible to newcomers and satisfying to their existing fans. “Electric Honey” has it all: smart lyrics, great music, effective guest appearances and even a cool title. Will this be the cd that finally catapults these talented women to the big time? It should be, but only time will tell.


I run

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