Crazy P

Age of the Ego

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British electronic band Crazy P have been continually refining their blend of disco, soul, house, and pop since the second half of the '90s, delivering remarkably solid albums and bringing enough live heat to land supporting slots for Chaka Khan and Chic. Age of the Ego, the group's eighth studio album, sounds perfectly in line with their other albums, but this one is unmistakably charged with a greater sense of urgency than anything else they've done. The album's title and cover art, which depicts monkeys taking a selfie, immediately express pointed commentary on the public's social media obsession, and the lyrics go further than that. "The Witness" begins with a text-to-speech sequence about an "Orwellian brave new smart grid," and frontwoman Danielle Moore later declares "The robots are in power" before urging the people to "Fight for the power of love." While this song has a tricky, mid-tempo electro-funk rhythm, the group are up to full disco-house force on tracks like the defiant "We Will F**k You Up," which pledges to combat against the destructive forces of the world. The very Saint Etienne-like "Kari" is a diversion into blissful, heartfelt semi-balladry, but "Barefooted" is a steadfast disco-funk ode to empowerment, graced by inventive, Bernie Worrell-esque synth soloing. "Step Into the Light" and the dreamy "Love Is with You" are more lovestruck, but still poised, confident, and powerful. The eight-minute "This Fire" starts out sounding like an '80s Chaka hit, then gradually builds up with backing vocals that echo Madonna's "Like a Prayer," and somehow manages to fit in a Bowie-sounding vocal part closer to the track's end. All of the songs on Age of the Ego are loaded with determination and revolutionary spirit, and while the group's lyrics have never been more forceful and commanding than they are here, the musicians haven't sacrificed their drive for exploration. The tracks encompass a wide array of tones and influences, and progress into unexpected directions, yet the group exhibit exceptionally tight musicianship, and their work is never less than deeply focused. More importantly, though, the album is joyous, party-friendly, and immensely enjoyable.

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