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DMX Krew Wave Funk

Ed Upton has proven, for the past 15 years, that he's a pious disciple of '80s electro, but his 10th album as DMX Krew, Wave Funk, calls for an intervention to break his addiction. In the past, Upton and his arsenal of vintage analog synths and drum machines could easily melt away the 25 years since electro's heyday. On Wave Funk, he departs from his vocal-driven electro pop and falls into abstract synth instrumentals that often don't quite gel. "Flanging" and "Garden Gate" find Upton trying his hand at crunk rhythms, but the efforts come across as stale. He even indulges in '80s kitsch with the sitcom-friendly funk of "Mr. Blue" and "Particle Burst," and although both tracks can reap an initial chuckle or two, they don't hold up beyond that. His ventures into dark moods fare worse, as queasy melodies and legless beats hinder "Byzantium" and the aptly named "Funeral Procession." That said, there are still a few specks of gold in the muck—the strutting groove of "Gravity Boots" has a nice, sleazy vibe and "Get Down (To the Sound)" would have been fine, romantic acid-funk if it wasn't for those annoying chord progressions. Ultimately, Wave Funk is the sort of record that follows each step forward with three steps back.

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