Lo Fidelity Allstars

Don't Be Afraid of Love

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It's never easy to sum up a scene even years after its peak, but with their second album, Lo Fidelity Allstars produced an all-encompassing statement on contemporary dance right in the midst of said scene. Shoved along the path to re-creating themselves by virtually imploding on the eve of a big 1999 tour, Lo Fis returned with a statement of purpose on the title track: "we hit the ground running with a new-found sound," over a KLF-style disembodied vocal chorus. Don't Be Afraid of Love isn't immediately catchy -- the lone exception is the out-and-out party song "Feel What I Feel," making a good bid for Ibiza/WMC immortality -- but it's sprawling in all the right ways. Just like on their mix sets (exemplified by On the Floor at the Boutique), Lo Fi's know exactly how to effectively pace an album, moving from a blues jam to a party song to a blissed-out vocal with a smooth confidence. Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli appears on the mid-tempo strut "Somebody Needs You," producer and fellow Brighton head Jamie Lidell does a great P-Funk imitation for "Deep Ellum...Hold On," while for the instant come-down classic "On the Pier," the band went to the source, Bootsy Collins, pitting his stoned-soul-picnic vocals against a drunken, swaggering horn section and the sweetest backing vocals since "Long Black Limousine." You can count on two fingers the number of dance records that have tied together R&B, Northern soul, funk, and acid house together with such a seamless grace: Primal Scream's Loaded and the KLF's White Room.

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