Hardcore Jollies

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Funkadelic's major-label jump brought its version of life more into line with Parliament, though the crucial difference between the two -- Funkadelic's guitars vs. Parliament's horns -- remains intact. Eddie Hazel is missed, as always, but Gary Shider and Mike Hampton do fine work. Whoever peels off the concluding solo at the end of "Comin' Round the Mountain" deserves credit, even if it's sometimes flash for flash's sake. Similar exercises in feedback can be found on the title track and elsewhere, sometimes great, sometimes timekeeping. Still, after all, the album itself is dedicated "to the guitar players of the world," so it can't be said that George Clinton and company aren't keeping the proper focus on things. Generally, things are fairly light on Hardcore Jollies, though a remake of earlier highlight "Cosmic Slop" retains the sharp sentiments, even if it's not quite as strongly delivered as before (musically it's much more centered around the bass and drums, though things get duly crazed all around toward the end). Otherwise, the emphasis is on fairly clean jams and rhythms, with more lower-key goofiness than before but still merrily out there. If it's not truly gone and great like Maggot Brain or Let's Take It to the Stage, it's still good listening at its best moments. "If You Got Fun, You Got Style" makes for a better chat-up dancefloor appreciation than most, while "Soul Mate" balances out obvious "want you bad" sentiments with squirrelly lead vocals that don't quite fit the subject at hand. And who could knock the use of the "there's a place in France/where the ladies wear no pants" melody in "You Scared the Lovin' Outta Me"? Pedro Bell does some of his best work ever for the cover and inside art, while the accompanying short story is hilarious.

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