Jill Cunniff – City Beach (CD)

Jill Cunniff was formerly with the band Luscious Jackson. While I am 23, the band achieved prominence and then moved away from that prominence before I was big into indie music. Thus, the tracks on this disc have little in the way of reference points with which I can work. The smooth pop music of Cunniff on “City Beach” could be enough to catapult eir into the mainstream again.

The clicking and snapping blended with the funk of “Happy Warriors” could easily make Lily Allen or India.Arie blush. The pop that Cunniff creates on this album is truly pop from another period; while there are sultry tracks on “City Beach” like “NYC Boy”, there remains a clean feeling to the music that is best tied to the work of Madonna pre-Britney Spears. Each of the tracks on this album are short enough the even if the style or overall sound of Cunniff does not impress a listener at a certain point, the track is soon ended. Still, how could not like this collection of hit after hit? Cunniff was able to work out any jags and sharp parts in eir music and create something that is like spun silkIt is odd to hear this album on The Militia Group, as the label usually involves itself with indie rock. However, the suits at The Militia Group are able enough to realize that Cunniff’s pop masterpiece will win over anyone else that may be listening in. The instrumentation on each of the track plays strongly in the background, adding a certain ambience to each Cunniff track.

This instrumentation varies between tracks, to allow listeners to keep focused in on “City Beach” throughout the disc’s 12 tracks. If anything can be compared to Cunniff’s work on this album aside from the stray Madonna tie, it would have to be one-hit wonder (but CATCHY one-hit wonder) Len. While “Eye Candy” has a vibrant energy all to itself that cannot be linked easily to other songs. “Exclusive” is another one of these stellar tracks, with an insistent tempo even as the vocals are smooth and calming. While I was never too familiar with Jill Cunniff in the past, this album will ensure that I find a few Luscious Jackson albums and attempt to complete my Cunniff collection. For fans of any pop music or rock with a tinge of pop influence, “City Beach” will impress a wide segment of the populace.

Top Tracks; NYC Boy, Future Call

Rating: 7.1/10

Jill Cunniff – City Beach / 2006 The Militia Group / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/jillcunniff / http://www.themilitiagroup.com / Reviewed 24 January 2007

[JMcQ]

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