Jerome Benton

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CONDENSATE BY ORIGINAL 7VEN (CD)

by Saguaro Road Records (Rap & Hip-Hop Music)

Personnel: Morris Day, Terry Lewis (vocals, background vocals); Jesse Johnson (guitar, background vocals); Jimmy Jam, Monte Moir (keyboards, background vocals); Jellybean Johnson (drums, percussion); Jerome Benton (percussion, background vocals).Recording information: Bellavenix Studio, Winnetka, CA; Flyte Tyme Studios, Santa Monica, CA. Photographer: Christopher Voelker. Back in the 1980s, when Prince was leading a funk-soul revolution from his home base of Minneapolis, his shock troops included a band called the Time. Where Prince had a tendency to take himself quite seriously no matter how outr his costumes or lyrical subject matter, the Time were an unabashed self-parody, a good-time funk outfit that simultaneously celebrated and poked fun at the conventions of smooveness. The original members are back 20 years after their heyday came to a close, and it's as if nothing has changed - nothing, that is, except their name, which is now inexcusably unwieldy. Everything else remains the same: Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam's Minneapolicious grooves, the lyrical concerns (which are really only one: leader Morris Day's unassailable coolness and the ladies' utter inability to resist it), and the fedoras. The offhanded sexism of Day's lyrics hasn't changed either, and it would be offensive if it weren't so transparently silly (the ascot he wears on the cover does help in that regard), while his attempts to demonstrate hipness by name-checking Twitter and referring to blogs are just endearing. The songs are consistent in their content-free attractiveness: "If I Was Yo Man," "#Trendin," "Cadillac" - no surprises here, except for this band's apparently effortless ability to pick up where it left off so long ago. ~ Rick Anderson
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