The Funky Lowlives

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Having exchanged downtempo pleasantries on a series of extended players for Ascension and Kruder & Dorfmeister's imprint, G-Stone, in addition to knocking out high-profile remixes for everyone from Masters at Work to Afro-beat legend Tony Allen, London duo Jon Whitehouse and Gary Danks get down to the business of a full-length album. The ten tracks are a study of modern downbeat, synth squiggles wrestling with more humane instrumentation in the balaeric-fuelled spirit of European contemporaries Jazzanova and Tr├╝by Trio. Though the pair wears their influences proudly on their sleeves, this is ultimately their undoing, with the beats of "Breathless" conjuring but failing to wake the spirit of Massive Attack, while the clarinet-lined hip-hop piece "Urban Illusion" is a few blocks short from the New York cool of Guru's Jazzmatazz. Singer Clare Szembec lends a further dimension, but her voice only accentuates the album's uneasy occupation of the netherworld that traditionally separates dance from pop and, though competent and well executed, the whole package ultimately comes across a little shallow.

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