After I had listened to this album a few times, I read an article about how k-os has been dissed by those in the hip-hop world for being a crossover pop artist trying to pose as a "b-boy" and not having enough "street cred."
k-os responded, "I feel sometimes with hip-hop music, people aren't allowed to be individuals and share that genre of music through different ways."
But I'm not here to argue about genre allegiance (seems a little silly when hip-hop regularly samples everything from funk to exotica to TV show themes). I just want to say that whatever camp he's in, k-os (pronounced like chaos) has made a highly entertaining album, the musical equivalent of an A.D.D. spin through the dial on a car radio.
That radio crackles with four decades of spot-the-influence styles. "The Rain" lays its dramatics over a bed of '50s doo-wop piano triplets and melodramatic strings, sounding like a cross between Clyde McPhatter and Prince. "Flypaper" is a reggae-billy romp that manages to channel Ziggy Marley and Brian Setzer. "Born To Run" (not Bruce's) is pure '80s, like the Fixx meets Eddy Grant. "Highway 7" is soulful folk while the diabolically catchy "Sunday Morning" is cut from the same cloth as Outkast's "Hey Ya," and deserves to be a big springtime hit.
Inside the cool, collage-rich booklet that accompanies this album is a quotation from k-os: "What's new . . . is it really the old pursued?"
Atlantis: Hymns For Disco answers that question with a resounding "yes." • Bill DeMain