Mr. Flash

Sonic Crusader

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Coming out of the French house movement, producing S├ębastien Tellier albums, and being the first artist signed to the electro and house wonderland called Ed Banger Records, producer Mr. Flash attracts plenty of preconceived notions, like he's some kind of hybrid of Mr. Oizo, Daft Punk, and Justice McCassius-a-lot. The big surprise is that he's all that, and more. It's also the weak point of his 2014 effort, Sonic Crusader, which trips a bit over its own size, but getting over the general jumbledness -- as Oizo-styled remixes of Giorgio Moroder-styled tunes (the aptly titled "Disco Dynamite") give way to what sounds like Kavinsky on downers ("Dazzle in the Dusk") -- is easy after a couple listens, because the swerves are expected. Biggest swerve of them all has to be "Number One," where Action Bronson, Cities Aviv, and Oh No bring the head-bobbing hip-hop and the boot-stomping boom-bap, but the winner overall is awarded to "Motorcycle Boy," which jams horns, harmonicas, and guitars into a Daft Punk-sized floor-filler. "Bagheera" with Lady Leshurr grinds and sneers with a style that imagines the U.K.'s garage and grime movements were born under the Eiffel Tower, while the '70s and serene "Midnight Blue" with Surahn suggests yacht rock is alive and well and living in Paris. Even if the slow, moody flow of the album's fourth quarter is smooth enough to suggest the man has an LP-sized masterpiece inside him, Flash prefers awesomeness over perfection here, and lives up to his name the whole way through.

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