Perhaps spurred on by the success of 1999’s “Battleflag,” Lo Fidelity Allstars’s follow-up, Don’t Be Afraid of Love, is sonically and conceptually more aggressive than their debut. Case in point: the track “Cattleprod” is intentionally “Battleflag”-esque, if only for recognition purposes (“Oh yes, this is the band who had that hit that time!”). Ultimately, the track sounds more like Smashmouth than Lo Fi Allstars. Copies aside, the eclectic Don’t Be Afraid of Love is an assured sophomore effort—the gritty opening track “What You Want” exhibits an underlying sweetness while the bouncy, ‘70s-soul-inflected “Feel What I Feel” is the jubilant antithesis of “Battleflag.” Guest vocalists abound, from Lisa Millett’s interpolation of Judy Torres’s “No Reason to Cry” on the housey “Lo Fi’s Ibiza” to the funky jeep-beats of “Somebody Needs You” (or more appropriately titled “Somebody Needs a Piece of Ass”), featuring Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs. The album’s lovelorn, dubby centerpiece is “On the Pier,” featuring vocals and bass by legendary funkateer Bootsy Collins. Lazy horns and a honey-dipped hook courtesy of Funkadelic’s Brides of Frankenstein only add froth to the already heady mix. Don’t Be Afraid of Love is about the power of faith (in love, music, everything) and the band’s triumph in the face of adversity (new lead singer, new keyboardist) is proof positive of that very power.
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