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Biota Bondo

Biota Bondo

As one could probably tell from reading my site, I tend to like things that are a little on the moody side. This taste is only amplified in the cooler months, when I almost always surround myself with darker releases, even if I'm in a good mood. Likewise, though, when it's summer, I find myself listening to a lot more pop music. It's probably simply the factor of the heat that I don't want something too dark weighing me down. I instead find myself breaking out more of the pop music that I own and if I happen to find myself in a sweltering traffic jam, I'd damn well better have something to sing along with lest my annoyance level spikes with every red light.

Although it's not the perfect summer album ever, Biota Bondo sure tries to be. It certainly has all the elements to make it work. Iffy is comprised of a trio of musicians that combine hip-hop beats, a touch of rock, lots of sampled bits, and several other elements for a pretty darn catchy batch of 13 tracks. The group reminds me of a slightly more poppy Beck or something that would compete with Smashmouth or Sugar Ray (the few tracks I've heard anyway) if it got the same amount of radio play. While even the mention of those last two groups will probably cause most people to cringe, I admit to initially liking respective tracks by each of them before the great radio break of 2000 (yeah, I officially stopped listening to _all_ contemporary radio last year). There's something about a light, silly track with meaningless vocals that still does something for me once in awhile.

Anyway, the album starts off with the song "Double Dutch," and you know what you're going to be getting into right off the bat. With two-part vocals and samples of kids singing floating through the chorus alongside horn bursts, it's a built-from-the-ground sing-along. The beats are crisp and funky without rumbling too much, and basically the group follows that formula for many of the tracks on the release. "Hi-Life" struts along with all kinds of wacky samples and probably the most grumbling beat on the album, while the chorus is another nonsensical mess. The group even has a laid-back track that deals with the eternal topic of being lovestruck on the groovin "Sweet Stuff."

Basically, this is fairly mainstream-sounding pop/rock music with just enough flava that you won't feel completely guilty listening to it. Get a carload of friends and drive around in the heat singing along with the vocals you know and making up the ones you don't, as that's about the best way to listen to the release. The group obviously has some hooks and some skills, which make Biota Bondo a reasonable guilty pleasure.

Rating: 6