Monday, December 9, 2013

Album Review: Trombone Shorty- Say That To Say This

Trombone Shorty
Say That To Say This
** out of *****

The newest release from rising musical star Trombone Shorty (aka Troy Andrews) starts off with an instrumental that gives the album its name "Say That To Say This" and it is trademark Shorty with his band Orleans Avenue, crunching riff high power horns and a groove you can sink your teeth into. If only the rest of the album kept this style going instead of trying to give Troy Andrews R&B crossover appeal.

Simply put Andrews and crew can jam the hell out of an instrumental but when it comes to creating a pop/rock/r&b track things are lacking. Onstage Andrews is an engaging front-man but when he tries to tackle lyrics and singing in the studio space it often fall's flat and always takes a back seat to his instrumental prowess.  

There are some middle of the road tries at structured songs with vocals like "You And I (Outta This Place)" and "Dream On" but most of these attempts are rough going like "Get The Picture" which feels pulled between 4 different genres. The cover of The Meter's "Be My Lady" will hopefully get the crew laid but the Quiet Storm tinged get down jam is a carbon copy of the original with worse vocals this go around. "Long Weekend" continues this early 80's-light r&b trend that sounds overproduced and sapped of any real emotion. 

The track Shorty seems to be trying his hardest to crack into the mainstream with is "Fire and Brimstone" but when real fire power and a rocking feel is needed the group are stuck in neutral. The production does little to fan the flames as things are oddly muted. That in the end is the albums biggest issue, the production duties were handled by Raphael Saadiq and things have a fine new age r&b sheen to them, this vibe puts the songs in focus and they don't hold up.  

Of course the instrumentals still cook, if you were to make a mix album of all of the bands instrumentals and add the likes of "Shortyville", "Vieux Carre", the delicately building "Sunrise", along with the title track you would have an all time classic. As it stands though if Shorty wants the break through mass appeal he will have to wait for the next go around and maybe look for a better fit at producer.
This one hurts, weaksuace R&B from Andrews, partially have to fault Saadiq too, I just don't like the pairing, guess it makes commercial sense but blah. We love Shorty, having fallen in love with Nola right around the time Shorty and crew were starting to make waves. We will always love the man and the band, will catch them all the time live, but we don't hold out very high hopes for upcoming studio releases.

Support the artists here, buy the album here, peep some video below.
"Fire and Brimstone"

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