Various Artists

Twice Again

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A new rhythm from the legendary production duo Steely & Clevie is always cause for celebration, though it must be said that a whole album of new rhythms would be cause for even more. Still, groove junkies take what they can get, and what this duo contributes to the 84th installment in the Greensleeves label's ongoing series of one-rhythm albums is a welcome exercise in sharp, bare-bones computer dancehall, with a minimalist rhythmic base and a smattering of cleverly wielded vocal samples. The 16 singers and DJs gathered to voice this rhythm are mostly young up-and-comers, with a few notable exceptions: Buju Banton sets a high standard with his opening track, "Beauty Queen" and the great Leroy Smart nices up the session in fine style on the album-closing "Memory Lane." In between is kind of a mixed bag, with things picking up steam slowly and coming to a head in the second half of the program. Once you get past Mr. Vegas' rather robotic "Body Done" and Mr. G's frankly stupid "Pump Up" (not to mention Famous Face, who advises us on "Legs Up" that "me groin not shrinking"), things start to get serious: Mr. Easy's "Selector" is an actual song and a very fine one, while Sweet C brings a fine singjay performance on "Together" and Harry Toddler does the same on "Top Shooter Ting." Like all such albums, Twice Again will benefit from a certain amount of selectivity, but it's a very worthwhile collection overall.

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