Boomkatalog One

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Boomkatalog.One is the debut of brother-sister duo Kellin and Taryn Manning. A slick, radio-ready intersection of trip-hop, pop, hip-hop, and street-smart urban soul, Boomkatalog.One stands out from its pop radio and TRL competitors with solid production work from Martin Pradler, Kellin's inventive sequencing/sampling, and Taryn's oddly captivating voice. Her sassy whine is a crazy/beautiful mix of irritating and endearing; over ultra-modern beats processed to sound analog, she sings, sighs, and raps with the clowning, pointed cynicism of a female Ad-Rock. "The Wreckoning" is a pop update of the groovy trip-hop sound Morcheeba never quite broke through with; "Know Me" is junior-league Macy Gray, proudly feminist yet unflinchingly horny. Taryn originally found fame as an actress, appearing in such films as 8 Mile and Crossroads. While Dreamworks has acknowledged her dual career, they were wise not to market Boomkat as the vanity side-project of another singing actress. Rather, the label played off of the young star's inherent tomboyish, good-girls-don't-but-I-do sex appeal, and positioned Boomkat as a band, not Taryn alone, from the outset. The approach legitimizes the duo, especially in a pop arena that was transformed by the twin takeover of Pink and Avril Lavigne. Boomkatalog.One is a promising debut, but it does have a few weak spots. The ballad "Wastin' My Time" sounds half-formed, and the new jack swing of "What U Do 2 Me" is dated. While the production is generally solid, processed supporting vocals tend to dominate the mix throughout the album. Their prominence often nullifies the cool, ugly duckling quality of Taryn's voice. The album is much more successful when she and Kellin are freed to riff on their natural chemistry, like in the infectious rap duet "Crazylove." Fortunately, this vibe flows through most of Boomkat's debut. Boomkatalog One is a clever marriage of technology, creativity, and straight-up sass that gets away with being much more enjoyable than it might deserve. It's the sonic equivalent of designer jeans engineered to look ratty, sold convincingly for twice the cost.

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