Fantastic Fabulous: The Electric Honey Preview
by Sara Schneider
In February, Kate was kind enough to invite me to a listening party for the new album in a bar in New York City. I was pretty amazed she even thought of asking me to come, I’m not in the business, I’m not a close friend, I didn’t help make the album possible, I just really love the music. I suppose she understands that and also figured I would share my thoughts about the new music with all of you to get you hyped for the new album. Needless to say, Kate was right.
My friend and I pretty much had no clue where we were going, well I did a little bit, but we still decided to leave really early…we were among the first dozen people there. As we were walking to the bar I realized I had actually been there last summer, the day after a Luscious show, when a friend of mine interviewed Komeda (whom Luscious totally love), so that was a bit strange to me. When my friend and I walked in a woman at the door asked if she could help us, because tonight the bar was closed for a private party. Obviously we didn’t look like we belonged, big surprise! I spotted Jill nearby and she waved. Then the girl let us walk in, how nice of her. The room slowly filled until it was pretty packed. I suppose most of the folks there were label folks from Grand Royal and Capitol and they were very cliquish. I didn’t feel I should bother any of the band, so my friend and I just talked throughout the evening. Eventually they informed us they were to play the album, and the album that is Electric Honey began to fill the room.
Apparently I was one of the few people there who went to really hear the music, because it was difficult to really hear all aspects of the album with everyone talking, loudly at that. I was treated to hearing twelve of the fifteen cuts off the album all the way through, then they repeated the album a second time, at which point a number of people left within the first few songs, which I was happy about. I was sitting in my seat, just feeling the music and grooving and quietly chatting with my friend a bit when Kate’s girlfriend came over to say hello, which I thought was nice. Kate came over soon after and the four of us went outside to chat. We talked about what we’ve been doing and a little about the album. I also got to meet Kate’s roommate and longtime friend who in the past has made some of the Luscious shirts we all love.
This album is wonderful, I cannot wait to get a CD in my hands to really hear all aspects, especially the background vocals which were difficult to hear that night. There are always interesting things going on there in Luscious songs. The first selection I heard was “Nervous Breakthrough” and I wanted to get up and dance, but so many of the people there were stiffs, or too trendy to pay attention to the music so I just kinda bobbed my head and bounced around a little. This song features a little rap by Gabby and Jill singing. I can’t believe how much Jill’s voice has matured and grown. Her vocal growth was apparent to me last summer when I caught them at Lilith Fair and I commented to my friends about it, those that were familiar with all the band’s releases agreed. The song also features a very catchy repetitive bass line. I was so eager for the songs to keep rolling on at this point. Next up was “Ladyfingers” which is set to be the first single from the album, and a good choice at that. The song features vocals by Emmylou Harris and to me the beginning was very reminiscent of Fever In Fever Out due to the acoustic beginning. Again another completely infectious tune. Following “Ladyfingers” a song with a trip-hop beat, that reminded me greatly of Morcheeba invaded my ears. This song was a bit more fast paced and the background sounded sort of artificial, maybe sampled, the title of this one is “Christine.” A tune LJ played at Lilith Fair last year popped up next, which was cool because I recalled some of the words and could sing along a little. “Alien Lover” features Jill singing and Gabby doing a little rap. This song has a major hook and you just have to love it, there is a good chance this tune may be a future single off the album. Track five features a heavy bass groove going on, which was awesome, the song features Gabby doing her thing. The song “Superstar” is very dancy, there is a guy doing some back up vocals, and there are some interesting sound effects to liven things up. Next up was “Sexy Hypnotist” which seemed like a story set to music to me.
At this point we were half-way through hearing the tracks and I wanted to be able to go home with a copy of the album in my hand or at least have the songs implanted in my head…permanently! At this point I was really grooving to the songs and ignoring everyone else there because I was in my own place with music I loved. When an album can take me somewhere else on a first listen, with at least a hundred other people in the room with me, that speaks enormous volumes to me.
Gabby’s voice then began to take control of me with the song “Friends” which features vocals by Kim Hampton from the New York Liberty (WNBA). The song started out old school LJ style and it was so awesome to go back to those days. The song reminded me a bit of Tricky or Massive Attack, who are both amazing artists. Longtime fans will definitely enjoy this tune. “Devotion” is another tune that has a good chance of being a single. Its got a fast beat and again its totally infectious and dancable. This song features some funky keyboards as well. “Fantastic Fabulous” features the amazing Debbie Harry of Blondie on vocals, I think this song could be a single as well. The song is heavy instrumentally, it is the kind of tune I’d see an arena rock band playing in the 70’s but its completely rockin’ as we near the millenium! This song reminds me of something Led Zepplin would have done back in the day or maybe even something Blondie would have done in the late 70’s or early 80’s. The tune features a great guitar riff. “Gypsy” was up next, and I guess I was totally in my own world from “Fantastic Fabulous” that I didn’t write any comments about it, and I was only able to hear this song once, so we will have to wait for the album. “Beloved” is a very summer song. It’s sensual, it makes you want to go out in the sun and chill… its really groovy. The final song we got to sample was “Fly” which thank god sounds nothing like those funknuts Sugar Ray. This is another trippy tune that reminded me of Morcheeba, its pretty mellow and slow and features Gabby on vocals.
At this point I figured the night was over, and was disappointed in that, but felt so blessed to have the chance to hear this album before almost all other fans. Then we were informed that they would run the album again, which was great, its what I would have done if I had just bought the album and was sitting in my car listening to it. I predict this album to be Luscious Jackson’s biggest album ever. The album encompasses everything Luscious Jackson has become and its something that is beyond words. Electric Honey is completely amazing and I foresee huge things from it.
I’ve heard the album also features “Country’s A Callin'” “Space Diva” and “Lover’s Moon” which they did not preview for us that night
The album is due out on June 29, 1999 on Grand Royal/Capitol Records.
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