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Myth Takes (Warp)

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Louden Up Now, !!!'s last release, sounded like a Ph.D. student's disconnected deconstructions of Klymaxx and postpunk. But the new Myth Takes takes rhythm as seriously as an old-school jazz improvisation — and thereby succeeds in making the Raptures and the LCD Soundsytems of the world look extraordinarily shallow. Extended, almost mechanical grooves abound (give or take the occasional overwrought freakout found on songs such as "Bend Over Beethoven"), and Takes plays like some undiscovered white-label flipside from the early '80s, a buried electro classic that only the most discriminating DJ would bust out at the end of the evening. Singer Nic Offer still makes for a somewhat awkward fit in the mix, with his concave Tiga hiss and a nagging sense that he's forever playing catch-up with the thumping sprawl of his seven bandmates. But hints of Talking Heads, Prince, Cameo and even Neu crop up in the densely layered undercurrents of drums, fiddling guitar and slabs of funk, all of which compete for face time on this ambitious party record.