Luscious Jackson The New York four-piece couch their songs of womanhood in a laidback, yet energetic, jazzy groove…
by Lisa Verrico
Natural Ingredients, the first full-length album from female New York four-piece Luscious Jackson, is the follow-up to World Clique that Deee-Lite never made- funky, jazzy hip-hopping, laid-back summertime grooves, mellow blues and classic ’70s disco sounds in a busy, dizzy mix of samples and real instrumentation.
“Deee-Lite is a really good comparison,” admits Luscious singer Jill Cunniff. “They came out of the same scene as us. We both grew up going to this club in New York called the Danceteria, where the DJs mixed up different kinds of dance music- from early indie rock and rap like The Sugarhill Gang to really heavy hip-hop, pure pop and disco.
“Luscious was started to combine all of those influences with the spirit of a rock band. We buzz off the energy that comes from rock gigs. That’s why, when we play, we’re a live band. It’s not a hip-hop show with just two mics, a DAT player and a DJ.”
Last year, as well as supporting Urge Overkill, Bettie Seevert and The Breeders, Luscious Jackson signed to Beastie Boy Mike D’s Grand Royal label and release the mini-album In Search Of Manny. Lyrically, the positive, feminist rhetoric that began on Manny continues on Natural Ingredients.
“All our songs are about struggling through womanhood,” says Cunniff. “They tackle different issues that come up for women as they mature. I wanted to investigate the negative, self-destructive elements that we take in from our culture- the doubts that almost all women I know have about their bodies, their personalities, their abilities.”
Nevermind the heave PC sentiments, the best way to listen to Natural Ingredients is as pure, commercial pop. “I certainly don’t see us as particularly commercial,” argues Cunniff. “To me, commercial is big and slick. We work really hard on our production to get a small and dirty sound. I’d compare us to someone like ESG, who were this really great, all-girl ’80s band from New York.”
In the above article Cunniff, was repeatedly spelled Cunliff, I took the liberty of correcting it.
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