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Tom Tom Club


New Wave underachievers Tom Tom Club danced out of Talking Heads’ shadow with an inferiority complex and a serious streak of hedonism: “Who needs to think when your feet just go?” the group once famously asked. Having turned in their homework for the Heads’ studiously polyrhythmic Remain in Light (for which Professor David Byrne actually prepared a bibliography), husband-and-wife rhythm section Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth partied like it was 1981, releasing Tom Tom Club’s self-titled debut album and, more fatefully, the “Genius of Love” single. That track is now a part of dance music’s most rarefied ether—a fact Tom Tom Club affectionately acknowledges on the new disc’s mesmerizing “Who Feelin’ It”: With a sinewy dub loop dropping out of the mix on cue, Weymouth borrows back the melody from “Genius” in order to point out that “No one can sing/Quite like Otis/Otis Redding.” Throughout the album, Frantz serves up a supple backbeat while Weymouth chants and coos like a coolly detached girl-group singer. She’s perfect on “She’s a Freak,” a sly and supple bit of dance-rock infectious enough to bring Ray Parker Jr. out of retirement. Never a group to resist easy pleasures, Tom Tom Club throws in a rubbery, Kraftwerkian take on “Love to Love You Baby” for good measure. A loose-limbed, dub-heavy good time, The Good the Bad and the Funky is a deft return to form that hardly anyone could have expected. —Shannon Zimmerman