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MILO Z (Buy CDs by this artist)
Basic Need to Howl (Mercury) 1994

In the '60s, white guys just wanted to play the blues; in the '80s, many of their successors just had to get funky. This inter-racial eight-piece from New York, named for its singer, has enough mid-'90s outreach to have Biz Markie guest on "Get on Up," Basic Need to Howl's leadoff track, and the crossover sense to defuse stylistic presumptions with barely syncopated guitar rock ("Gun Control"), mild groove pop ("Change," "Want Me"), quiet storm ("Do It Up") and mock-hip-hop (the anti-racist "Step Back"). But instrumental competence and a social conscience don't make it funky, and Milo Z ultimately come off as dabblers. Hell, Duran Duran could get down this far.

[Ira Robbins]