Arrested Development: Since the Last Time

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By: Nathan Rodriguez

Since the Last Time (Vagabond Productions) is Arrested Development’s first U.S. release in twelve years, and it’s evident the band intends to embrace the past while cultivating the present. Many of the tracks would jive perfectly with the Friday soundtrack since both offer a sunny day marriage of ’70s funk and hip-hop that’s carefree but not careless.

Lead vocalist Speech continues his affable activism without resorting to outright preaching, lending the album the wisdom that arrives only with maturity. “Sao Paulo” opens with Spanish guitar and melts into an intensely layered beat that somehow allows just enough breathing room to maintain a steady pulse. “Inner City” offers the finest melding of voices and percussion with a convincingly earnest beat.

Since the Last Time may not have the chart-climbing hits that brought 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… into public consciousness back in ’92 but as a whole it compares favorably with either of AD’s first two releases. Speech and the rest of the band have aged remarkably well, and instead of trying to save the world they seem intent on improving it slightly, one listener at a time. You don’t have to be a fan of AD or hip-hop to find beauty in this release, which places Arrested Development in the company of acts like The Fugees, The Roots, De La Soul and a Tribe Called Quest – bands with a universal appeal that transcends genre and arrests critics and fans with similar force.

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