So overall, I’d say the album is a disappointment considering what these guys are capable of. John King of the Dust Brothers has produced this one and created their thickest fullest sound to date. The overall result though is that the real funkiness of the band is somewhat diminished by the sometimes heavy sound. At times though, the arrangements really work, and there some sick jams. Play: 2, 6, 10|
1)Very rich, dark, electro/acid jazz cut. Lots of very strange, dark, haunting synths. Wood is on top of his game, mixing it up with bowed bass lines. Overall, the solos are weak and uninteresting. Heavily produced 2) Dark and twisted like the first track, but Martin’s funky breaks shine through and give the track a better grounding, and Medeski lays down nice licks. Nice cut. 3)Lots of echo-y rock guitar styled soloing trading off with Medeski’s work on the Hammond. Overall, not a very cohesive track, overproduced! 4)Slow, pensive cut. Billy puts down a sinister beat, just cymbal taps with bass kicks, and a snare hit about once a bar. Wood lays down nice little bass licks on his upright, and Medeski gets REAL abstract on echo-y synths. 5)More uptempo, bright track. Billy is on his electric laying down smooth lines, Billy puts down a nice funk beat, and Medeski makes random ambient noises as usual, putting down a very tight little solo about a minute in. 6)Reminds me of “Last Chance to Dance Trance” off Friday Night in the Universe. Wood plays upright with nice syncopated walks. Martin is smooth as ever, swinging the beat as far as it’ll go. Medeski is on acoustic piano finally, playing very dark, lounge-y chords and lines. 7)Here’s one for the real MMW fans. Medeski on the Rhodes, Billy just plowing along with funky syncopated lines on the jazz kit, and Wood walking all over his upright. Sick, sick, stuff. On the other hand, I’m a little lost as to what King added to this track. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to hear on Shackman. Good, but not new. 8)Very Uninvisible-- Medeski on weird screechy keyboard that he sort of whacks instead of plays (no idea what that thing’s called or if it even has a name). A bit overproduced once again, with echo effects sort of drowning Wood out at times and creating a sound that’s too thick. 9)Ambient dub, I think. Tons of echo and dark looming chords in the background. Wood makes sort of impressionistic bowed licks, and Martin holds it together as usual, driving the track with an energetic funk beat. 10) The usual base: Uptempo syncopated beat, fat little bass licks. Medeski noodles on his forementioned “slap keyboard”. They’re joined here however by Briggan Krauss on alto sax and Marc Ribot on guitar. When combined with King’s production, we get a richness and fullness to the choruses that MMW had yet to create. Very cool stuff. 11+12)Scratched! Don’t play!