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RECORD RACK

Recycling Sounds on a Shifting Landscape

October 29, 1995|Cheo H. Coker

P.M. DAWN

"Jesus Wept"

Gee Street/Island

* * * 1/2

Like "trip-hop" Wunderkind Tricky, P.M. Dawn turns sampling into a dizzying art form. The infinity symbol that is part of the group's logo is integral to its concept, as it recycles the sounds of everyone from the Talking Heads to Al B. Sure.

"Jesus Wept" is founded on a hook-heavy sonic landscape that constantly shifts in style and mood. The blissfully smooth "My Own Personal Gravity," the Beatlesque "Soncheyne" and the meandering "Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto" float in psychedelic, funkafied directions. In a current musical environment overrun with mindless bump 'n' grind lyrics, the group takes imaginative chances by singing cryptic lyrics about relationships with lovers and God.

Because lead singer Prince B would rather shimmy around a drum track with dreamy, closed-eyed vocals than thrust his masculinity on his listeners, the group has never been able to establish a hard-core urban appeal. But with music as groundbreaking as that on "Jesus Wept," the hip-hop community ought to pay this Jersey City duo some overdue respect for consistent innovation.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).

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