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Lifesavas 

Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack (Quannum)

Wednesday, Apr 25 2007
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Expectations for Portland's Lifesavas ran high from the start. MCs Vursatyl and Jumbo the Garbageman and DJ Shines comprised the first act to ink with Quannum Projects outside the local label's original Solesides crew (DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, et al.). With plenty of Golden Age grooves, indefatigable positivity, and alphabet aerobics, Lifesavas' 2003 debut, Spirit in Stone, mostly lived up to the hype. But it wasn't until the recent release of Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack that the group exceeded hopes.

At its core, the new disc is essentially the mythical score for an early '70s Shaft-style flick. Thus, you get a concept disc heavy on ultra-amplified funk and soul. Gutterfly is littered with flute loops, street-gritty strings and horns, a little wacka-wacka guitar, brassy-throated backing divas, black-power speech samples, and a guest turn from George Clinton on "Night Out" (Dead Prez, Fishbone, and Smif 'N'Wessun also drop in on a couple tracks). In character as "Sleepy Floyd," "Bumpy Johnson," and "Jimmy Slimwater," Lifesavas' members strut gruffly through songs about love, disenfranchisement, and 'hood-life struggle, aiming to whoop ass and uplift the masses like blaxploitation heroes for a new generation. — Michael Alan Goldberg

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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