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Urbanator: Urbanator 2

Cleaner and more polished than the ensemble’s self-titled debut album, Urbanator’s Urbanator 2 (Hip Bop Records HIBD 8012; 63:53) seems like a step back from the ambitious traditional-rumbles-with-modern attack Michal Urbaniak’s band staged previously. The tracks here are for the most part sunnier and lighter, tending towards more “conventional” urban contemporary R&B. This is not to say that tracks like the funky “New Yorker” and lithe “Basia” aren’t well conceived or played-they just aren’t quite as gritty or alarmingly creative. There are a few noticeable pitfalls (the heavy breathing “Mantra” is one) as well as high moments (the hard hip-hop backbeat interpretation of “All Blues”), but on the whole, the mean, take-no-prisoners excitement of Urbanator the first has been severely diluted.

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