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POP MUSIC

Record Rack

*** PROPELLERHEADS, "Decksandrumsandrockandroll," DreamWorks

March 29, 1998|Steve Hochman

You don't have to be James Bond to spy that for all the talk about electronic dance music being "futuristic," it's really just recycled styles in new contexts. But maybe it helps to have some connection. With a gusto guest vocal by Shirley Bassey (of "Goldfinger" fame) on "History Repeating," the English duo of rock veteran Alex Gifford and hip-hop kid Will White lyrically lay out their awareness of the past. But more telling, it aesthetically draws a line from the swingin' London of the '60s--and all discotheque scenes that have followed--to the present.

So maybe the duo overdoes it with the Bondisms--in addition to Bassey's appearance, there's a version of the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" theme and the espionage-tinged "Spybreak!" But overall, this debut album, built around singles and EP releases of the past two years, is an inviting assortment of beats and breaks--the Chemical Brothers with more playfulness. And new tracks featuring U.S. rap acts De La Soul ("360 Degrees") and the Jungle Brothers ("You Want It Back") open promising directions for more stylistic recycling.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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