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.

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

The Late Night Tales series of invited-guest's mix-tapes succeeds or fails not just on the compilers' taste, but how they craft a running order of diverse tracks. Some smart invitees –... > Read more

Various Artists: So French So Chic 2013 (Carte!l/Border)

Various Artists: So French So Chic 2013 (Carte!l/Border)

It has been fashionable in hip circles to be instantly dismissive of the annual So Frenchy So Chic double-disc compilations of French pop and sometimes with good reason: they do err to the... > Read more

New Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kevin Mark Trail

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Kevin Mark Trail

Singer Kevin Mark Trail -- who guests on the new Sola Rosa album Magnetics and is on the tour (see dates below) -- has got other reasons to be cheerful. His new album The Knight has also just... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Astro of UB40

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Astro of UB40

New Zealand audiences are extremely loyal to those acts we take to heart. The Violent Femmes could turn up tomorrow and -- despite not having been here for years and not even existing anymore --... > Read more