JAZZYFATNASTEE S The Tortoise & The Hare (Coolhunter/Ryko) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
The title of the new Jazzyfatnastees disc is apt. Tracey Moore and Mercedes Martinez haven't dropped a disc since 1999's The Once And Future, so they must be counting on the old adage. Where too many hiphop/soul records offer track after track of dreary sameness, Tortoise is lush with variety and ingenuity: lovely vocals, killer arrangements and interesting instrumentals, from the samba shuffle of the title track to the unremitting drums and sizzling horn loop on Give A Dog A Bone. It's not all entirely original. The slinky music-box creep of Four Lives, a chilling suburban portrait effortlessly cooed in tandem by the two ladies, reminded me of a track off Tricky's Nearly God project. And tunes like El Medio Del Misterio, a Latin-lite soul rave-up, cry out for dance-floor remixes. But Moore and Martinez don't rely on Mariah-style vocal acrobatics, opting not to mess up solid singing with superfluous vibrato quavers. Welcome to triphop with soul.