Thursday, April 15, 2010

Album Review - Galactic - Ya-Ka-May

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as "Overflow Reviews" and may add some extra information before or after if needed but will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:

**** out of *****

Named after a New Orleans street dish, Ya-Ka-May is the sound of funk band Galactic trying to capture NOLA music today, as advertised, “this is not your father’s New Orleans album”.  In a sense they have succeed, continuing to blend hip-hop into their patented digital funk sound, but manage to take it a step further then on their last record From the Corner to the Block adding a distinctly New Orleans appeal with the friends they invited, no outsiders here. 

Not all songs sound completed and at times the guests and the band seem to be divided on the direction of tracks but there is a lot here to digest.  Almost a mix-tape in presentation Galactic added such dynamic and varying local guests from Allen Toussaint on the bubbling “Bacchus” to bounce “sissy rapping” stars Katey Red and Sissy Nobby doing their booty shaking thang on “Katey vs. Nobby”.  Just between those two cuts that are sequenced next to each other, you span generations, genres, cultures, and followings, showing just how diverse the NOLA music scene currently is. 

Trombone Shorty pops up and contributes some funky brass blowing on “Cineramascope” while Ryan Scully and Josh Cohen from the now defunct Morning 40 Federation add their boozy charm to “Liquor Pang”, a personal favorite.  Walter “Wolfman” Washington plops a dollop of swampy blues with “Speaks His Mind”, and throughout Galactic do what they do best, play sidemen to the great talents that they gathered for their record.  They support rather then star on their own production, and it works better then on some of their past efforts.

This is the sound of the present day New Orelans, the beautiful thing is that while its history is magnificent the city is constantly changing in its style.  As long as groups like Galactic continue to spread the good word of all types of NOLA sound the town is in great hands, grab a helping of Ya-Ka-May for some salty southern goodness. 

For Booty Shakin' and more click on the jump:
I have always respected Galactic as a band, but for some reason all of their studio CD's felt flat to me.  This one has a lot more life contained in it.  Being a bit more NOLA focused certainly helps, but not all efforts are much more then a simple beat and wildn' out MC, but they are at least amsuing and don't over stay their welcome, like Cheeky  Blakk's "Do It Again"...don't click it if you are easily offended by booty shakin'

Galactic - "Do It Again" ft. Cheeky Blakk from Galactic on Vimeo.

Getting "classicaly" great artists like Toussaint on the album with some local colorful MC's is a real testament to how deep the groups love is for their hometown, Ya-Ka-May tries to caputre the full sound of NOLA, not just the Preservation Hall Jazz spans the full city, and for that the group should be commended.  This mini video captures it well:

Oh man I can not wait to for Jazzfest, and oh yes, Galactic will be playing. 

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