Balkan Beat Box, "Blue Eyed Black Boy"

88 Billboard Rating

While many contemporary indie acts fuse genres to stay ahead of the curve, the result is often less than the sum of its parts. Not so with Brooklyn trio Balkan Beat Box, whose distinctive blend of world-fusion electronica brings wild unpredictability on its latest album, "Blue Eyed Black Boy." The title track features muted trumpet and shimmering guitar that are colored by lyrics about race and discrimination, and the band showcases its reggae sensibilities on "Move It," where dub horn is swapped for gypsy melodies. Later, "Dancing With the Moon" starts slowly before breaking into Balkan-flavored dancehall. Recorded in Belgrade and Tel Aviv, the set's tension is reflected on "Look Them Act" ("There's a real strong smell of Armageddon/ And I'm Mediterranean, I'm a Yemani Arabi Israelian"). Distilling Mediterranean grooves, Arabian modality and dance-worthy hip-hop beats, Balkan Beat Box crafts a cocktail fit to please world, hip-hop and dancehall fans alike.

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