Juice Water

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On her latest outing, Erica Quitzow shows off plenty of funky soulfulness throwing down a batch of dance happy pop tunes that sound like they were marinated in a bowl of funky ‘80s new wave hits. The album is bookended by two solid tunes that let out her inner Prince. "Let Out All the Crazy" kicks things off with a bubbly bite of glossy funk that could be a more sedate cousin of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy," while the album closer, "Whatever," is a wordy, rhythm-heavy funk/hip-hop hybrid that harks back to the salacious overkill of Dirty Mind. Prince seemed outrageous in the '80s, but after years of gangsta rap pushing the sexual envelope, Quitzow sounds relatively subdued when she sing/raps, "Smoke black tar in my mom's car, skip lunch and go to a strip bar," it just sounds like good, dirty fun. The tune is helped along by a primitive, playful rhythm track. Juice Water may be a funky change of direction, but her mischievous lyrics, hook-heavy playing, and pop savvy are still intact. Other solid tracks include "The Cut," a stomping disco-meets-Suzi Quatro style rocker, the archly humorous "More Keith Richards," which combines drum loops, mellow cello, girl group backing vocals, and spacy moog for an ode to excess; "Money Talks," which is as close as she comes to modern R&B with her purring vocal and steady backbeat; and "Race Car 2," an acoustic ballad featuring acoustic and slide guitar and a processed cello adding to the tune's anguished vibe. Quitzow is one of the few female auteurs in pop. She wrote, produced, and played most of the instruments on Juice Water, and it's a blast from start to finish. It's possibly her best work yet. Juice Water may be something of a funky change of direction, but it's also a playful reminder of what makes her music so engaging.

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