Republic of Loose

Vol IV: Johnny Pyro and the Dance of Evil

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Republic of Loose's third album, Vol IV: Johnny Pyro and the Dance of Evil, is the group's most structured and coherent effort to date -- some achievement for a band for whom cycling heavy funk, smooth soul, gangster rap, and sleaze metal is all in a day's work. Two years on from their breakthrough, Aaagh!, the six-piece Dublin outfit demonstrates all the variety of its previous outing, but few of the rough edges that made it impossible to embrace unconditionally. Frontman Mick Pyro's surreal, off-the-wall poet schtick remains, but overall he's more reserved and is eager to be taken seriously. Keyboardist Deco is more prominent, weaving synthesized funk horns between the tight leads of guitarists Dave Pyro and Brez Breslin, while Brazilian drummer Andre Lopes adds a touch of virtuosity to the rhythm section. Lead single "I Like Music" appears twice, the radio edit closing proceedings while an extended version featuring New York rapper Styles P props up the middle. Second single "The Steady Song" is a duet with Isabel Reyes-Feeney, who reprises her role on Aaagh!'s "Break." Sinéad O'Connor makes a guest appearance on "The Telephone," while folk-rocker the Mighty Stef and Nigerian hip-hop collective Millionaire Boyz guest on the epic "I.R.I.I.S.H.," during which Mick Pyro calls into question much of what it means to be Irish in the 21st century. While Vol IV: Johnny Pyro and the Dance of Evil rarely re-creates the scintillating highs of its predecessor, the renewed focus of the record bodes well for future efforts.

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