Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (Dunham)

Menahan Street Band: Keep Coming Back
Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (Dunham)

Released late last year so lost between Rod/Buble Christmas carol albums and non-stick reggae vibes, this all-instrumental outing by the house band for Brooklyn's Dunham Records (a subsidiary of Daptone) – who did the honours on Charles Bradley's retro-soul gem No Time for Dreaming in 2011 – is a quietly smoldering outing treading lightly between ensemble jazz, slo-soul and late night moods which steams with humid horns and organ grooves.

This anonymous supergroup – members of the Dap Kings and Antibalas – offers mood pieces which win by stealth and repeat play rather than deliver king hits. Many of these 11 pieces – the desert amble of Three Faces, deft funk and Oriental weirdness on Sleight of Hand, film noir on Bullet for the Bagman, beach-friendly guitars on Driftwood – have a cinematic quality which refers back to the Fifties as much as the streets of today's New York.

In places you can almost hear how a vocalist might ride across the top – notably on the chipping funk and strings of Lights Out and the liquid Everyday a Dream – and some might feel that absence.

But this is a quietly maturing winner for the summer days and nights ahead.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

Renee-Louise Carafice: I Will Raise a Bird Army (Bird Army)

There is no doubt life has been difficult for Renee-Louise Carafice, her previous album (here) was born out of clinical depression and time in an institution . . .  and this one addresses the... > Read more

Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang: The Wonder Show of the World (Palace)

My guess is that because Bonnie Prince Billy aka Will Oldham aka Palace aka Palace Brothers etc has done so many albums that, like Woody Allen movies and local buses, you can afford to miss one... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Chinatown, Singapore: Life in the lens

Chinatown, Singapore: Life in the lens

Among the trinkets and souvenirs at the Chinatown Heritage Centre in Singapore the photograph caught my eye: a lone boatman, standing up in his small craft, is rowing between some other vessels as... > Read more

Elvis' Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

Elvis' Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

Nobody in their right mind would want to follow Elvis' eating regime, but every once in a while maybe you should live like a King. This was one of his favourite recipes and I got it off an oven... > Read more