Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
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Power Struggle / The Liberators

The Liberators - Power Struggle

Record Kicks

The Sydney based group The Liberators return with another deep dish of impressive heavy grooves. "Power Struggle" features nine tracks of Afro-beat inspired instrumentals certain to keep your head nodding to the beat. The opener "Cairo Uprising" sets the tone with an infectious groove and spirited rhythms. "Dark River" is another up-tempo pulsating tune with jazz infused rhythms. "Red Green Live Die" features wicked bass playing that compliments the funky horns that are featured throughout. "Power Struggle" picks up where their debut left off and that's by delivering high energy Afro-funk that will keep you on the good foot and wanting more.

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Reg Dancy, 05/14

The Liberators / The Liberators

The Liberators - The Liberators

Record Kicks

It doesn’t take long to recognize that the ten member unit known as the Liberators can play a mean brand of Afro-funk, and play it well. The Sydney based band’s debut is a crisp ten song collection of high energy afro-funk that percolates from one song to the next. The group was formed by Dojo Cuts guitarist Nathan Aust and he has assembled a cohesive unit with all the ingredients; a blistering horn section, wicked guitar rhythms and top notch drumming and percussion.  That’s evident right from the start with “Multiculture”, a hard charging tune armed with an airtight horn section and a lead tenor sax delivering spirited soloing. “Rags To Riches” brings more heat, albeit with some funky guitar work and precision horn arrangements. Only three tracks feature vocalists and none of them disappoints. “Let It Go” is a nice mid-tempo tune with a strong groove and bubbling percussion that features Dojo Cuts member Roxie Ray. “Liberation” is one of the highlights of this strong set, a dynamic tune that features Afro Moses. Known in Ghana as the African James Brown, Moses puts a charge into the set with his singing and his energy is infectious. The Afro funk sound and Afro beat in general becomes more popular every day and firing up clubs everywhere. Let’s hope that this is the first of many strong releases by The Liberators to help carry the torch.

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Reg Dancy, 03/11

The Subtle Art Of Distraction / The Magnificent Tape Band

The Magnificent Tape Band - The Subtle Art Of Distraction

ATA Recordds

The Magnificent Tape Band is made up of ATA Records founders Neil Innes & Pete Williams. Their eight track lp is psychedelic soul filled with sophisticated compositions and arrangements. Top that off with the powerful soulful vocals of Sheffield born Rachel Modest and you have a recording that would fit alongside the 60s Stax recordings. The disc kicks off with "Let The Church Say", stirring organ grinding ballad that showcases her gospel roots. "When I Saw You" is another soul ballad where Modest's falsetto is complemented by Gareth Wilkin's heavenly harp melodies. "Not That Kind Of Woman" is filled with sublime strings and hypnotic guitar rhythms. Modest's falsetto will evoke images of Russell Tompkins Jr of the Stylistics but she clearly has her own sound. This is a tremendous debut and a must have for fans of classic soul.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Inna de Yard / The Mighty Diamonds

The Mighty Diamonds - Inna de Yard

MakaSound

Makasound's  Inna de Yard series is well suited to the The Mighty Diamonds with a stripped down collection of 10 of their best (although I was disappointed that "Pass the Kouchie" wasn’t covered) included are ‘Country Living, I Need A Roof, Have Mercy and When The Right Time Come. Very good.

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Graham Radley, 06/08

Showdown / The Mighty Mocambos

The Mighty Mocambos - Showdown

Legere

"Showdown", the latest full length release of The Mighty Mocambos demonstrate once again that this group can bring the funk and lay down a groove with the best of them. On this date they've invited a bunch of guests to ensure you'll have a funky good time. "In The Dark" is simmering funk featuring vocals from Nichola Richards. "Not Get Caught" is a guitar thumping tune that features vocalist Derobert. "The Spell Of Ra" and "Locked And Loaded" are high energy instrumentals with blistering horns. The legendary Afrika Bambaata appears on three thumping tracks here but he appears to be more of a hype man these days than a lyricist. Overall "Showdown" provides plenty of funk and soul to keep you more than satisfied.

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Reg Dancy, 06/15

Beyond The Rains / The Mitchell and Dewbury Band

The Mitchell and Dewbury Band - Beyond The Rains

Mr Bongo

I got a bit of a shock when I received "Beyond The Rains" because I had no idea there was any plan to re-issue this album and the press release doesn't make any reference to its previous release. Even though this album is 5/6 years old, it has not dated at all and it had been great to hear again. If you've never heard "Darker Than A Shadow" with Terry Callier, "Spaces and Places" with Fertile Ground or "Beyond The Rains" and "Love Is Flowing To Love" featuring Billie Godfrey, you've been really missing out. There are a couple of added extras "Kaleidoscope" with Lizzie Rendall, "My Words" with the ace Hipnosis and Mac Frank, and finally the release of Drumagick's remix of "Beyond The Rains". Here's a good chance for you to catch up.

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Simon Harrison, 04/07

102% / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - 102%

One Note Records

102% is the fifth album from my local funk band The New Mastersounds and if your tastebuds fancy some funk, you can never go wrong with these guys. There are no vocals but they've brought in Rob Lavers on sax and flute, who brings another dimension to their sound. Most of the tracks are their own work, except for a great version of Roots Manuva's "Witness", which is certain to gain them a few more fans, and ensure you check out "Thirty three" and "Carrot Juice". One thing I would love these guys to do is work with more vocalists. They've already proved they can do it with the classic "Your Love Is Mine" with Corinne Bailey Rae, and with Nicola Willis blowing up over 2006 and expected to do big things in 2007, it would be perfect timing.

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Simon Harrison, 01/07

Made For Pleasure / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - Made For Pleasure

Legere Recordings

With their tenth lp "Made For Pleasure", the Leeds, based group traveled to New Orleans for this  recording. It appears they have been inspired by the musical rhythms flowing through the Big Easy. The evidence is steeped in the organ grinding gritty funk of the title track "Made For Pleasure". On "Fancy" they flip the Iggy Azalea pop hit into a roots reggae rhythmic gem. "Pho Baby" is a warm bluesy soul tune driven by guitarist Eddie Roberts. Cherly Lowry is the guest vocalist steeped in the raw soul lineage of female soul singers before her. She torches three tracks here with "Enough Is Enough" being the standout. The UK quartet remain consistent by delivering straight no chaser funk and soul and hit the mark once again.

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Reg Dancy, 01/16

Renewable Energy / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - Renewable Energy

One Note Records

Not resting on their laurels, The New Mastersounds continue to push the envelope towards crafting jazz infused funk and soul. They used two sessions to complete this record spending time in New Orleans once again and Denver Colorado. There's a couple tracks reminiscent of the trademark Mastersound but the emphasis here is more on laid back soulful grooves. Evidence lies in the aptly titled "Pudding Pie and "Living That Jazz Life". On the former, guitarist Eddie Roberts lays down an easy like Sunday morning type of groove made for finger poppin'. Keyboardist Joe Tatton chips in with some sweet swaying melodies. "Gonna Be Just Me" is an up-tempo burner that features Adryon De Leon from the LA funk band Orgone. The mellow finale "Swimming With My Fishes" glides into the sunset thanks in part to Mike Olmos and Joe Cohen of The West Coast Horns. Sometimes you want to get up and have a funky good time. Other times you want to lean back and enjoy the groove. Whatever you choose just make sure you bring this quartet along with you. They won't disappoint you.

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Reg Dancy, 06/18

Shake It / The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - Shake It

Color-Red

With twenty years in the game The New Mastersounds need no introduction. They continue to be pioneers of funk and soul and their new release "Shake It" doesn't disappoint. As the title suggests they've shaken things up a bit by shedding the fusion from their previous recordings for a grittier funky sound. Acclaimed soul singer Lamar Williams Jr joins the band for this session and immediately puts his stamp on these body shaking recordings. "Let's Go Back" kicks off with Eddie Roberts down south bluesy guitar riff before morphing into New Orleans funk along with soaring vocals from Williams Jr. "Taking Me Down" flourishes with Afrobeat rhythms and lively percussion from Thievery Corporation drummer Jeff Franca. "Kings & Queens" is another heater with funky horns and a soulful rhythm section. From slow burners to high energy grooves NMS have added another jewel in their  crown with another jam packed lp.

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Reg Dancy, 12/19

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