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Despite murky origins, 'DK3' captures Danity Kane's essence

Despite murky origins, 'DK3' captures Danity Kane's essence
Danity Kane, from left: Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard and Aubrey O'Day. The act released a new album despite a nasty split. (Mass Appeal)

Danity Kane pulled off a rather strange feat with its latest release, “DK3.” The album, the act's first effort in more than six years, is a comeback and a swan song.

Last year the urban-pop girl group announced that a reunion would go on without the involvement of hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, who assembled the act during the third season of the hit reality series “Making the Band.”

But the reunion quickly proved bumpy.

Only four of the five original members — Shannon Bex, Andrea Fimbres, Aubrey O'Day and Dawn Richard — returned, with the group's fifth member, D. Woods, choosing to focus on a solo career before later claiming she wasn't invited back.

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The quartet then became a trio after Fimbres announced her departure would come at the conclusion of their comeback tour earlier this year (she sat out performances of new material).

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During the creation of the new album things crumbled. A recording session ended with news of an altercation between members and reports of backdoor meetings and shady conspiracies. End result? The group calling it quits, again.

The reunion, as short-lived as it proved to be, was another reminder of the often-contentious dynamics of a pop group, especially manufactured ones. Rarely do such acts hold it together, especially if members achieve success outside the group.

Despite its murky origins, "DK3" – a parting gift to fans (and likely a contractual obligation following a new deal) -- captures plenty of the group's essence, even if Danity Kane was down to two members and the project wasn't crafted by the litany of top-notch beatmakers that Diddy employed for earlier work.

Lead single “Lemonade,” a brash kiss-off to haters, updates the snappy R&B/hip-hop-driven pop of previous efforts and boasts a sample of the Clipse’s  “Grindin'” for extra punch. “Tell Me” starts as a sexy bedroom knocker before it mellows into the quiet groove of “Two Sides” and rock-tinged ladies anthem “All in A Day’s Work” is packed with enough grit and foot-stomping swagger that Beyoncé would approve.

"I made a mill while I cooked your meal / Kids to bed and put you down next / Pumps and sweats, still a bad ass …" they sing.

Danity Kane's tastes also expanded during the years apart, and production team the Stereotypes (responsible for Danity Kane's biggest hit "Damaged") helped the act navigate new terrain.

Album opener “Rhythm of Love” follows an innocuous, but extremely worn, urban-EDM template. “Roulette” digs deeper into pulsating synth-pop melodies and “Bye Baby” is built around the funky disco flourishes currently in vogue.

As a whole, "DK3" is effervescent and completely primed for dance floors – even if the ladies have long left the party.

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