Light of Worlds

Light of Worlds

Even as Earth, Wind & Fire married rock-inspired funk to jazz-informed playing, Kool & the Gang topped R&B and pop charts with an even harder amalgam of similar styles. Long a moderately successful act with jams like "Let the Music Take Your Mind," the Gang hit big in 1973 and '74 with irresistibly raucous singles like "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging." Light of Worlds was their first album after this breakout, and continued to offer a nearly surreal approach to the funk ("Rhyme Tyme People") while tweaking the mellower side of the band's influences (the original, superior version of "Summer Madness," an often sampled classic). Soon enough, such venturesome reach would be a thing of the past, as Kool & the Gang headed for the middle of the road. But this album captures them at a peak of inventiveness and happy mischief.

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