Suite 304

This talented young seven-piece—four men, three women—band from Davis sounds like a more frenetic update of such ’80s Britsoul revivalists as Wham! and Level 42. The 11 songs here (plus four remixes of the last cut) veer all over the map; the overly busy production drops in the kitchen sink—dub, Cuban rhythm, scratching, electro, psychedelic guitar, et al. The gauzy harmony vocals are massed without sounding “churchy”—think Up With People sings Parliament. The coolly detached women vocalists have listened to a bit too much Sade. And whoever the guy is whose rapping sounds like Doogie Howser doing a Barry White imitation needs to get in touch with his inner Caucasian. The only thing missing here is strong songwriting—arguably one of the first items on the checklist of anyone making an album that’ll be their calling card to the big time.