New York electronic duo The Knocks threw quite a bash when making their latest album, New York Narcotic, inviting guests such as Big Boi, Sofi Tukker, Foster the People, and Method Man, and the result is one of the most fun party albums of the year.
There’s a grooving, funky spirit throughout the LP, bringing influences ranging from Daft Punk to MGMT to the Revolution. “Goodbyes” and “Big Bills” meld old school R&B with fly hip hop verses and pop hooks to create undeniable jams. The title track is a smooth, catchy piece of dance music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, while “Shades” is the kind of 80’s party rock that Morris Day and Prince would deem worthy. It oozes cool, breaking through the defenses of even the most snobbish hipsters.
“Brazilian Soul” brings a South American tropicalia into the mix, with Sofi Tukker contributing vocals with a jazz pop flare. And the duo find their rock soulmates in Foster the People, who contribute to the catchy hit single “Ride or Die”, a chill piece of indie ear candy.
Taking a page out of the LCD Soundsystem book, “Limo” is a self-reflective and self-deprecating lark, with “I really thought by now I’d be famous” becoming a strong hook, even as the 80’s electronica chorus goes overboard. Another album highlight is “Room for You”, a surprisingly sincere and soulful jam.
The album does contain a few throwaways. “Retrograded” and “Feeling Myself” are fine cuts for the club, but don’t really stand out much on this eclectic album, and Sir Sly-assisted “Wizards of Bushwick” starts admirably but the chorus’ direction is a letdown. The only other major criticism of the record is the gaudy cover art – whatever inside joke this was, I’d highly suggest the group switch it out right away, as it will do no favors in attracting music fans browsing for something new to jam to.
Thankfully, there’s enough strong material on this album to help you forget about the misfires. You’ll want to jam this one loud through whatever stereo you have bumping it.