19 February, 2008

Rock Steady

The Lions is a supergroup. It's a happy mix of Orgone, Breakestra, and other contemporary soul, funk, R&B, and jazz groups. With all of that sound injected into the mix, you'd expect The Lions' new album - Jungle Struttin' - to be a big mix of eclectic musical sounds. Instead of a mix, The Lions toss out a fairly straight-forward album of Reggae tunes with a Meters-ish riff thrown in here and there for a little funk flare.

Jungle Struttin' isn't a bad album, in fact it's quite catchy. "Thin Man Skank" starts off the album with a funky strut and chill guitar wobble, then "Ethio-Steppers" (video below) bounces in with horns and electric squeals. "Jungle Struttin" is a reggae-filled jazz improvisation session, which supplies both bass and percussion in dramatic doses. "Sweet Soul Music" is a deeply groovy ode to love, while "Hot No Ho" is heady and slippery with brass sound. The highlight of the album is "Think (About It)", a gospel-influenced reggae gem of a cover that makes the rest of the album seem a little lackluster. Noelle Scaggs sings her heart out on this song, with the funky "it takes two to make a thing go right, it takes two to make it outta sight" interlude that adds so much swing to the mix.

In the end, Jungle Struttin' isn't a genre-making album, but it is a sick recording of some amazing musicians laying their sound down in a comfortable environment. If you want to hear something fun and well-made, listen to Jungle Struttin'. If you want to hear something fresh and extraordinary, then you should probably look to some of the bands whose members make up the Lions. Whatever you listen to, groove on and rock steady.

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