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It’s a leap forward, a document of growing self-awareness, and it actually contains the word “narc.” The rare Daniel Lanois co-production that doesn’t smother his clients in gauze, Fever In Fever Out finds Luscious Jackson peaking in its attempt to meld funk, French film music (OK, that’s a guess), lite-rock, and Latin influences into a languid whole that achieves real force and sexiness. The radio hit “Naked Eye,” with its warm-blanket vocal hooks, is best, but the Jacksons, particularly singer/multi-instrumentalist Jill Cunniff, explode little grabbers all over these 14 songs. And most of the time the occasional hyperearnest lyric works for, not against, the group. (One close call happens on Cunniff’s “Why Do I Lie?,” but its blatant lift of the melody of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Fantasy” smartly diverts the ear.) Plus, who knew Lanois’ pal Emmylou Harris had been waiting all this time to drop a Yoko impersonation? Next thing you know, she’ll be busting a move with the Amps. The Jacksons are able to pull off much more than one groove, and as for being “wise in the afterlife,” the openheartedness on display sounds pretty sharp in the here and now. Can a Björk collaboration be far behind?—Rickey Wright