While New York duo ApSci's third album, Best Crisis Ever
, arrives at a time when hybrids of pop, hip-hop, and R&B have become ubiquitous thanks to the success of Santigold
, Gnarls Barkley
, et. al, the pair have never been anything less than leaders of the pack, their first outing having been released back in 2003. The partnership of Producer/MC/beatmeister Raphael LaMotta and his wife, vocalist Dana Diaz-Tutaan makes for a mercurial musical mind that leaps with fleet feet from one style to another, while somehow never quite settling down in any one particular mode. Though LaMotta contributes some vocals as well, Diaz-Tutaan is the star of the show, and while she's fully capable of playing the kind of dance-diva role that's crucial to the success of this kind of project, her talents are much more diverse than that. One moment she's crooning softly and sweetly on the winsome, melodic pop nugget "Big Adventures," the next she's baring her fangs as the fierce party animal at the forefront of "Let's Rip the Town Up." And while LaMotta displays some convincing chops as a rapper on tracks like "Afford Me This Poetry," he shines most brightly as the architect of tone and tempo here; he's equally adept at delivering stout, syncopated breakbeats, floor-shaking club-bangers, and light-stepping, almost Postal Service
-like electro-pop pings and pops, complementing his beats with just the right synth melodies every step of the way. And when the pair closes out the album with a swirling, sultry reinvention of the old R.E.M.
tune "Swan Swan H," making it sound more like a modern urban pop platter than a jangle-rock chestnut, it becomes clear that they're capable of pulling off pretty much anything that enters their eager collective mind.