Artist: The JuggaknotsTitle: The Love Deluxe Movement Rating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Maurice Downes
On some kind of hell-bent to incorporate every annoying album concept at the same time, Juggaknots follow up their excellent re-release of Clear Blue Skies with a… wait for it… concept mixtape EP. Yeah. Titled The Love Deluxe Movement (Matic Records), this one isn’t just some mildly clever jab at Tribe’s unfortunate final album… the album’s focus is “love”, and finds the Juggaknots in a kind of playful mood throughout eight tracks (14 in total with instrumentals and remixes), most of them dealing with some aspect of everyone’s favorite four-letter word.
At this point, you might wonder how you can pull off something like a “love” concept on nothing more than a short-play album. Well, friend, The Love Deluxe Movement will keep you wondering, because it almost feels like the Juggaknots themselves couldn’t figure it out (besides, Mr. Lif already holds the unofficial record for most ideals per square inch with his Emergency Rations EP). There is no excuse for any release feeling underdone or sloppy, EP or not, but that is the case here. If it weren’t for the rhyme skills of the ‘Knots, things could have come off even more disappointing.
A lot of that disappointment lies in the fact that there are actual “tight joints” for Juggaknots fans to enjoy on this one. Two of them. “P Rushen” has the crew ripping flows about relationship stress over a very convincing beat… a beat that provides a great backdrop for both the rhyme and some “funky singing by Miss Vinja Mojica”. Then there’s “Settle Down”, a smooth, but heavy track that outlines over two strong verses everyone’s greatest fear: commitment. It’s not one of the Juggaknots best ever, but in the face of goofiness like “Justalittlefake”, featuring Breezly Brewin rhyming over Outkast’s Ms. Jackson beat for all of 1 minute 54 seconds, or “Vibrant Thing”, Queen Heroine’s disjointed track about… eh… sex toys (get it? Vivrant…Vibrant…yikes)… well, you’ll find yourself very forgiving.
See, these kind of jokey throwaway tracks are where the whole “mixtape” portion of Love Deluxe Movement comes in, and it’s very carelessly done. They basically consist of a Juggaknot kicking a weak (for them) verse that never quite matches up to the backbeat, and a half-baked idea for a song. For example: “Dreams 2002”, an update of Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Dreeeeeams of (bleep)ing an R&B (bleep)’, will cause many listeners to wish the Juggaknots left well enough alone… it just adds nothing to the Biggie Smalls classic. In fact, short of the two well-done tracks on The Love Deluxe Movement, you may find yourself wondering what kind of mission they were on to release an album of what were seemingly live show eff-arounds. It’s all a bit beneath them. In the end, Love Deluxe Movement could be referred to as a concept mixtape EP of sorts, but here’s a concept that would’ve worked much better: “single”.