When you come out the gate with that "new flavor" attitude and a parade of clever ideas, sounds, and lyrics, the sophomore jinx hangs above the head like the sword of Damocles, and that goes double for genres like hip-hop, up to and including the U.K. strain. The vibrant return of Rizzle Kicks doesn't even seem aware of second album expectations, effortlessly bouncing out colorful and memorable pop-rap moments that are Fresh Prince fun, Dizzee Rascal funny, Eminem flashy, and as catchy as a hit that's one-half Drake, one-half Macklemore. Still, as easy as it plays out, Roaring 20s is deceptively crafted and ambitious. The album unfolds like a true star where hits mingle with tracks that should have been and nothing gets labeled "filler." Add to that, the Brighton duo have sharpened their lyrical skills and evolved into something much more aware, offering cool commentary about the millennial lifestyle and reality television during the great "Lost Generation." The moody and full "Lunatic" raises the group to a Massive Attack level when it comes to atmosphere and groove, while "Put Your Two's Up" is party time perfection, coming on strong with horns, hooks, and a guest appearance from Fatboy Slim. The brilliant Jamie Cullum and Rizzle Kicks cut, "The Reason I Live," feels like a true collaboration rather than just some record company-directed collision, and when the lyrics snidely declare "Listen up yo, feelin' alive is a good way to kill time", it's the RK gift of being cool, cold, and positive all at once. Great things happen all over Roaring 20s, an album where the cool kids become the smart kids while losing none of their baller status.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries