On the Jungle Floor

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Van Hunt's an artist, not a star, and his sophomore album, On the Jungle Floor, expands musically on his 2003 self-titled debut. Shadows of Hendrix and Prince are as apparent here as Lenny Kravitz and Curtis Mayfield's were on the first. Both albums are very good, if not separate personalities, though Hunt's growth probably won't fly with all his fans. Dude might be the most talented funkster of this decade because he knows not to stay in one place, that it's the death knell of an artist.

Jungle Floor's first obvious change is the mix; it's less polished — not bad, but rawer. As before, the lyrics are instinctual throughout, particularly on such funk charges as "Hot Stage Lights" and "Character." "Daredevil, Baby" slickly twists a Lennon nod, thick guitars touch on rock-opera territory. And "Ride, Ride, Ride" is a fast, rambling, rock tune full of piss and vinegar. It's the record's schizophrenic high point.

Thankfully, the album's three lowlights — "No Sense of Crime" is a bore, and two 15-second interludes are useless — take up less than five minutes of listening time. Not a bad ratio at all.

Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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