* * * 1/2
Digable Planets’ sophomore effort finds the New York-based trio with its feet on some seriously solid ground--a curious place for a group whose jazzy, ethereal musings made them the bohemian darlings of hip-hop last year. That image, cemented by their nicknames (Ladybug, Doodlebug and Butterfly), will most likely be shattered by “Blowout.”
Musically, Digable’s new album rides in on the crest of the Long Beach vibe, the signal of a kinder, gentler hip-hop nation. They keep the beats oh-so languid and sexy while covering new lyrical turf. Songs such as “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” find the group digging into and exposing the psyche of urban America deeper than any of their West Coast counterparts, without making any pat conclusions.
Unlike Digable’s debut, which makes a knock-out first impression but wears a bit thin after repeated listening, “Blowout Comb” draws you into its subtle web and keeps you listening.
New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).