The Budos Band - II LP
This Brooklyn-based instrumental collective combines slow-burn Afro-beat rhythms with a '70s soul-jazz aesthetic, the latter sound well-known by those already familiar with the Daptone label's other releases. The retro, almost blaxploitation soundtrack groove pushes the predominantly Afro style into American soul territory. They call it "Afro-soul," which neatly sums up the style but doesn't entirely do it justice; only hearing it does. Horns and horn charts dominate, which, because these sessions were recorded live in the studio, exude a spark and swing that are somewhat ominous yet hypnotically contagious. The band cites both the Sugarman 3 and Antibalas as influences, and the resulting mélange is the flash point between those two acts. Unlike much Afro-beat, the Budos Band's songs are compact, with only two extended past four minutes. Titles such as "King Cobra," "Scorpion," and "Ride or Die" emphasize the underlying danger inherent in the vibe. Most impressive, though, is the collaborative aspect at work here. None of the solos are extended and the concise track times keep the music sharp and taut, creating a mood and getting out. There's a strong R&B undercurrent, especially in the bass on "His Girl," an innovative rewrite of the Temptations' "My Girl." "Origin of Man" practically begs to be the soundtrack to a film noir, and much of this would work as backing music to a typical '70s grindhouse flick, which is a high compliment. Its swirling sound crosses genres and eras with effortless precision, joining world-roots-funk with the thumping urban groove of the Western world.