Thursday, January 26, 2012

Album Review - JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - Want More

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Want More
***and1/2 out of *****

The party soul flows hot like lava with JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound's first release on Bloodshot Records, Want More.  That is exactly what the group seems to be shooting for, more, as they take the freewheelin' singer fronting a drum tight soul band motif made famous yesteryear and starts it up again for a new generation.  The trend has been in vogue lately with lots of groups (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Fitz &The Tantrums etc.) but Brooks radiates that unmistakable front man charm, vocals and magnetism that is crucial for these types of outings, not to mention the band cooks.

The title track and "I Can See Everything" both give off that good times vibe with flashes of Karl Denson jam ability but the groups obvious influence arrived a few decades earlier via Sly and the Family Stone era interplay.  The sunshine throwback style of "Everything's Will Be Fine" is extremely polished exhibiting a band that is lock step together when it comes to delivering the goods.  "I Got High" shows off some top notch vocals and more intricate playing if not the most astute lyrics, but those seem to be secondary throughout this first major release from the band.       

2 highlight tracks are "To Love Someone Who Don't Love You" and the bands cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart".  On their original the falsetto singing, strings and over the top orchestration raises the bar for this band to expand upon their soul roots in the future, while the cover of their fellow Chicago band's tune turns the original on it's ear, crafting a unique interpretation that might surpass the source material in quality and enhancement.

Things could get a bit more dirty/funky in places as opposed to grease slick soul, lyrically the group will also hopefully evolve, but this is a fantastic effort that will make listeners smile and shimmy.   

This review never saw the light of day last year and it is a shame, because this album is a winner.  I caught JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound twice over the MassMOCA Festival weekend last year, and they were one of the standout acts from the weekend.  The album is a real joy ride, nothing to deep, just a band playing to their strengths.  If you are into that crisp soul sound give it a whirl, with out a doubt Wilco fans should peep their cover, I certainly like it better then the original as it downplays the so-so poetry and plays up the emotional fisticuffs.  I think Tweedy may too as he came out and performed it with the band last year...

Grab the album here and preview some tracks below:

"I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" Wilco Cover

"Everything Will Be Fine"

"To Love Someone That Don't Love You" Live, stripped down and still impressive..

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