24 October 2012

Review: The Hot 8 Brass Band 'The Life & Times Of'

The Life And Times Of
[Tru Thoughts]

Truly funky music speaks to the listener regardless of how polished it is, what genre it is, or when it was recorded. Truly funky music can be painstakingly put together electronica or loose-limbed organic live playing. Despite the good work of the Godfather, it has little to do with "the one", just ask Tony Allen or Sly Dunbar. Hell, even a brass band can be truly, mind-blowingly funky, just take a listen to The Hot 8 Brass Band. Direct from the Second Line streets of New Orleans and breaking out of the city with the most lively and energetic version of Marvin Gaye's classic Sexual Healing these ears have ever encountered, the band's debut album dropped in 2007 on Tru Thoughts. Coming through the horrific experiences of Hurricane Katrina and losing several members of their group (two to street violence) has been taxing for the Hot 8, but they've returned with a brand new album, proving they're no one-trick pony. The Life And Times Of is a trip. A beautifully vibrant and raggedly funky brass band take on soul, funk and hip hop, the record is far from being slickly produced - but the sheer exuberance they've captured among the warts and all is nothing short of infectious. With a clutch of original tunes alongside covers of Basement Jaxx's Bingo Bango and The Specials' Ghost Town, it's clear that while these guys are serious about playing brass instruments, they don't take themselves too seriously. Recommended.

3 and 1/2 stars from 5

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