Luscious Jackson

Magic Hour

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Like so many '90s alt-rock acts, Luscious Jackson faded away once the year Y2K came into view. Once the calendar turned over into the new millennium, Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, and Kate Schellenbach all pursued different paths, but when 2011 rolled around, the band broached a reunion, raising funds on Pledgemusic in 2012 and releasing a new, partially crowd-funded album, Magic Hour, in 2013. The lower budget can't help but bring to mind the group's lo-fi beginnings and, in places, Magic Hour does recall the noir funk of 1992's In Search of Manny, the group's exceptional debut EP. Magic Hour isn't quite as elastic as its antecedent, but it benefits from the group's measured precision, illustrating how the bandmembers are happy to reconnect with their roots but avoid nostalgia at any turn. Like In Search of Manny, this is a thoroughly New York album, capturing its casual cross-culture intersections, but the key to Magic Hour -- like on Manny -- is how Luscious Jackson never push the cross-pollination; they simply take the funk, hip-hop, pop, and rock for granted, letting it all settle on their own terms. Magic Hour has a stronger song sense than the groove-centric Manny -- part of the fun of that album was to hear the group delve into their black-and-white rhythms -- which also helps it feel age-appropriate; Luscious Jackson aren't intent on re-capturing the past, but rather, reconnecting with their roots while moving forward into the present. The result is terrific, a record that builds upon the group's legacy and is easily the equal of anything the band did in the '90s.

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