Music News

Jahcoozi

So let's get the obvious out of the way first: Yes, Jahcoozi's singer is from Sri Lanka, the group plays a glitched-up brand of electro, and (perhaps as a concession) all of its label-sanctioned press materials mention M.I.A. by name. But the similarities between the two artists are, as that brief description might suggest, fleeting. For one thing, there's not much on Pure Breed Mongrel resembling pop music. A product of Berlin's swelling electro-hop scene (see also: RQM and Quio), Jahcoozi is far more interested in making its songs cough, sputter, and stall than in hitting a smooth cruising altitude. "Fish" opens with Sasha Perera's vocals cut up and re-pasted, a long string of open vowels that flutters and pops with wild abandon. And even though "Heal the World" feints toward dancehall, with its giddy punk! punk! rhythms and Perera's lilting cadence, less than one minute in, Perera's voice is cut to ribbons and scattered like sand across the beat. The one drawback is that Perera's lyrics are often too goofy to warrant such reckless experimentation. For all of Jahcoozi's sonic stubbornness, songs like "The Bouncer Who Turned Good" and "Ghostbuster Generation" are too buried in cheek and kitsch to be redeemed. This winking verse makes "galang-a-lang-a-lang" sound like high poetry.

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J. Edward Keye