Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Was (Not Was) - Boo!

Semi-dormant since 1992, Was (Not Was) have buried the dinosaur and returned with another avant-garde funk/soul release. The 10 tracks that make up Boo! have been in the works since 2000 (some rumored to have been songs held over since the 1980s.)

Boo! opens smartly with the ear-tickling of "Semi-Interesting Week" which sets the groove but teases the listener a variety of effects. The smooth Temptations/Four Tops feel of "It's A Miracle" is absolutely brilliant as it is purposely sabotaged with an unexpected f-bomb and topical swings. Definitely our favorite track on the disc. "Your Luck Won't Last" is an funky electronic dance number with some wild samples. The beautiful, lilting yet disturbing "From The Head To The Heart" made us search the credits for Neneh Cherry for vocal credit... it's not her though. Just when you think the tracks are set for experimental, pop, experimental, pop, etc. you get thrown a curve-ball in the form of the big horns and soul-infusion of "Big Black Hole." "Needletooth" harkens back to sonic terrorism of 1992's "Hello Dad... I'm In Jail." The groove of "Forget Everything" is far from forgettable and leads into the fun bluesy "Crazy Water" which is a possible single. The album wraps up with two guest-influenced tracks. "Mr. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" is a very strong 70s-era funk tune that leaves you curious as to what parts were co-written with Bob Dylan. Closing the album is the outrageous psychedelic twist of the Kris Kristofferson-narrated "Green Pills In The Dresser."

Something can be said for beautiful, clean and predictable music. It presents itself as it is with little need nor room for interpretation in repeat consumption. That isn't bad but the often uncharted waters, the purposeful unraveling of expected threads, lend to a level of greater audio appreciation over time. The tapestry of Boo! is frayed, broken and missing threads under our microscope. This is a great thing. There's no reason to be afraid to purchase Boo! as it may be the best album of their career.

4 out of 5

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