New Whirl Odor

Artist: Public EnemyTitle: New Whirl OdorRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Many social commentators are claiming that America is mimicking itself 15 years ago: a Bush in office, a war going on, and starving in the streets. Whether true or not, it seems that the times have put up a proverbial cross-hair spotlight in the skies, and P.E. has returned in classic slime-fighting form. Though the masses have embraced Public Enemy into the new millennium, New Whirl Odor (Slam Jamz) restores Chuck D, Flava Flav, Professor Griff, and now – DJ Lord to profound but threatening lyrics over crashing beats.

Scary to some, it is Moby’s productive collaboration, “MKLVFKWR” that resonates strong with New Whirl Odor. Though it’s slim on lyrics, this features the pounding bass and convicted choruses that made Chuck D a hero to many. “Check What You’re Listening To” turns the scope on media – attacking the foul play prevalently discussed this year. “New Whirl Odor” culminates all things wrong in the world, from self-centered community leaders to the shames of soul-sampling. Some will be led astray while others find pleasures in Chuck D’s tendency to tangent on several songs. Flava Flav has a solid presence throughout the album, something that’s felt contrived since He Got Game.

The LP is top-heavy. The lesser-profile instrumentals, interludes, and scratch-heavy records are pushed to the back. However, “Superman’s Black in the Building” is a twelve-minute showstopper that recaptures New Whirl Odor’s early momentum. DJ Lord truly studied the style of Terminator X, and uses short segments of early P.E. classics to provide context for the group today. To some, this is a redundant attempt at rehashing the glory days. Others may find this a needed retreat from the Electronica tendencies of Revolverlution.

At the end of his career, Miles Davis returned to updating interpretations of “So What” after two decades of challenging his form. Public Enemy is taking a similar step. They are not trying to outdo It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by any measure. Instead, they are updating that formula and treating fans to an inspiring venting-session combining the elements of their glory days with the resources 2005 has afforded them physically and creatively. Suckers to the side, this is album is Right Guard for ’06.