JANELLE MONÁE The ArchAndroid (Suites II And III Of IV) (Warner) Rating: NNNN
Vocal powerhouse Janelle Monáe blew our minds a year ago when she conquered Austin with a string of otherworldly performances, leaving furious hype in her wake. But instead of riding out the hot buzz like most acts do these days, she vanished back to that soulful, funky planet from whence she came.
She's finally back on Earth, and her major label debut is blowing minds the way Outkast once could, with a musical creativity that can't be denied. Don't be put off by ArchAndroid's heady narrative and 70-minute length. Its intriguing combination of 70s Bowie glam, James Brown soul and Outkast weirdness can't really be taken in after one spin. True rewards come from repeat listens. Finally, something worthy of the hype.
Top track: Cold War