Album Review: Luscious Jackson – Magic Hour3 min read
I was born in 1993, two years after Luscious Jackson formed, however sadly my childhood did not feature any of their music. At the time I was more into that other girl band, The Spice Girls. If I had a time machine, though, I would go back, locate one of Luscious Jackson’s albums and pop it into little Rachael’s Walkman. I’m sure I would have grown up much cooler. While time travel is looking pretty unlikely at this point, it is a great consolation that after a 14 year break, Luscious Jackson is now back with a brand new album, Magic Hour… and it’s a party starter. The whole album seems to be asking “will you meet me on the floor?” as Aaw Turn It Up! does. It is funky, fun, sexy and guaranteed to get you on your feet.
The opener and, incidentally, my favourite track is You And Me, a funky, chilled out number replete with “lalala”s and awesome chanting.
Are You Ready? is the most complex in its production with lots of effects used. Its soaring melody makes me feel like riding down the East coast in a convertible wearing one of those Thelma and Louise scarf thingies.
While this album wants you to have a good time, it also wants you to think. #1 Bum turns the tables on objectification in an ode to a man’s derriere and suggests that people who openly pursue someone for a certain attractive body part alone “have no pride.”
The drumming is a highlight. Kate Schellenbach’s beats are both powerful and innovative, truly the driving force behind the album. The drumming is particularly epic in Show Us What You Got, where there are several rad drum breaks, also featuring a cowbell that would make Christopher Walken proud.
Another of my favourites is So Rock On, a mature love song that tells the lover, “stay the way you are.” This is also one of the most 90s sounding tracks – something about the vocals in the chorus – on the album, but it is produced in such a fresh way that it sounds totally original. It also features a beautiful violin solo, which I never would have expected but which really works. It’s one of the many surprises that make Magic Hour such a satisfying listen.
The vocals are varied and often layered. There are breathy raps, attitude-filled verses and triumphant choruses. They are REAL voices, no auto-tune here, thank goodness. Jill Cunniff and Gabby Glaser’s voices harmonise to great effect on the closing track 3 Seconds To Cross, a song about a New Yorker’s experience of California.
These women just radiate confidence. I find it so inspiring to hear women singing and playing with this kind of power and attitude. Of course there is a place for ballad-singing, sensitive songstresses in music, but music like Luscious Jackson’s feels sadly rare. Music that inspires confidence in its listeners and encourages you to grab your friend and start a band.
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