With its head-snapping break-beat collages and ruminative downtempo jams, Josh Davis' latest recalls Endtroducing..., a 1996 debut so finely tooled and widely praised, it was hard not to hear everything that followed it as one long sophomore slump. That seems the subtext to the title here, and while this album may lack his debut's soul-jazz seamlessness, it compensates with bipolar freakiness. "Border Crossing" is a guitar blast imagining Lars Ulrich with a third arm and a funk transplant. "Warning Call" features a pep talk from U.K. art-pop singer Tom Vek over riffs from 1980s post-punkers Saigon. "Stay the Course" is an old-school throwdown with Talib Kweli and De La Soul's Posdnuos. And "Give Me Back the Nights" is a spoken-word tirade over bassy gloom so manic-depressive it probably needs meds. But, like this whole set, it may be better off without 'em.
Listen to "Stay The Course":