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Trumystic Sound System
Product Three
Mutant Sound System

When jungle music first broke through in Britain, it was more than just Uzi-speed breaks and polyrhythms, it was also a contemporary twist on dub reggae. Only with the evolution of "intelligent jungle" did the vocals fade out. Trumystic Sound System's stunning new album brings the music back to its roots, Brooklyn style. Deep, soulful and inventive, Product Three marries the most fascinating elements of turntablism, drum and bass, and world music. The band's three quite different vocalistsÑrapper Soothsayer, reggae singer Dr. Israel and torchy crooner Divaship--somehow all mesh, and Product Three sounds as cohesive as Massive Attack's Blue Lines, a debut that maintained its narcotized noir vibe despite a host of singers. Soothsayer's ultrachill rhyming may recall the Bristol sound, but the sharp, mechanized beats that creep beneath his voice add another layer of desolation. The standout track is the intensely poignant "Life in the Ghetto," which is so emotionally rich that it just might be the first jungle song to make you cry. (Michelle Goldberg)


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Black Eyed Peas
Behind the Front
Interscope

I doubt that Behind the Front will leave my CD changer for the rest of the summer. The L.A.-based Black Eyed Peas debut is smooth, soulful hip-hop infused with positive vibes and a playful grind a la A Tribe Called Quest or Arrested Development. Almost every one of the 16 tracks is exhilaratingly inventive: "Karma" has a mellow ska rhythm; "Say Good-bye," a righteously political song about America's slide to the far right, is an addictive, propulsive combination of breakbeat and funk. There are a few cheesy love-you-down ballads, but even those are balanced by the wonderful "Love Won't Wait," a sad ultimatum to an insensitive lover that boasts sublime, roughly ethereal female vocals. With its mid-tempo low-rider groove, the whole record is cohesive and consistent, yet still leaves you feeling like you've been on a trip. (Michelle Goldberg)


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Randy Travis
You and You Alone
Dreamworks

Randy Travis has one of the most distinguishable male voices in modern country music. He's tried his hand at acting, most recently with Black Dog, and co-star Patrick Swayze sings harmony on "I Did My Part." Though he's a fair actor, it's in music that Travis shines. "Out of My Bones" has received a great deal of radio play, but there are better songs on this well-rounded album. "Only Worse" and "I'm Still Here, You're Still Gone" are up-tempo numbers about heartache. On "Satisfied Mind," a contemplative song about dying, Travis sings, "I never wanted no more than was mine/And to lay down someday and go home/With a satisfied mind." His rich voice also gives the lesser-known Willie Nelson song, "Horse Called Music," amazing resonance. (Sarah Quelland)

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From the July 2-8, 1998 issue of Metro.

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