When musical boundaries correspond to racial ones, bands usually cross them self-consciously, from The Clash's tributes to early rap, to Mos Def's "Ghetto Rock." On the other hand, Atlanta's El Pus (rhymes with "moose") came to party rather than fulfill some social mission. On Hoodlum Rock, Vol. 1, the all-black quintet stitches together funk, punk, hip-hop and hard rock so confidently, they make most previous attempts look like Civil War surgery. Despite the opening quote of their press bio -- "We are crunk music, with amps and guitars" -- the 10-track collection is not tinny, spastic crunk, but fully textured, in-the-pocket groove from start to finish. With the band's breezy melodic sense, it even bucks the cardinal rule of most of its genres, which is to be hard-asses. For craftsmen of a sound that others will peg with all kinds of political implications, El Pus' ambition is truly exotic: to have some damn fun.
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