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Review: A Funky Good Time With Some ‘Excellent Gentlemen’

12/11/2009

cover

As with many a new artist/band I come across, what first attracted me to Excellent Gentlemen’s Just Say Yes was the albums artwork. I was browsing various music sites and came across the above image accompanied with a one or two line description of the band and their sound. What first struck me was that the album artwork had a bit of an Ohio Players feel to it.

The very brief description found alongside the artwork said that the band fused soul, funk and hip-hop to ‘create a sound all of their own’, regardless of whether ‘all of their own’ was accurate or not I decided to check them out, primarily because I’ve been on a bit of a funk binge of late.

excellent gentlemen (group)From the moment I pressed play on the bands debut, I knew I was in for a good time. Album opener ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ recalls the classic soul/funk of the 70’s whilst still managing to have a refreshing edge to it that will simultaneously appeal to the masses and satisfy the die-hard soul/funk heads. ‘Get Down Baby’ follows on where ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ left off, however this time the band make more use of their trademark talk box and Moog synthesiser and also incorporate more hip-hop into the mix. When the rap kicks in nearly half-way through I reached for the skip button, however after letting it ride out I was pleasantly surprised, in fact I would say that this has become one of my (many) favourites on the album. Track 4 kicked in and I had to do a double-take when I glanced at my iPod screen, ‘The Ass Dance’? Had an R.Kelly track somehow invaded my iPod? Not to worry, the track is infact a very nice slice of mid-tempo soul that is perfect for those last-dance-of-the-night moments.

Excellent Gentlemen – Yeah Yeah Yeah (snippet)

On an album this consistent it is difficult to pick tracks that stand out, the three I’ve already mentioned are all excellent, as is the album as a whole, however there are a further two tracks I would like to mention (the rest I’ll leave for you to discover). First is the song ‘Freaky’, when I saw the title it immediately made me think of the inumerable late 90’s/early 00’s tracks sung my talentless, R&B-lite vocalists. Thankfully E.G.’s ‘Freaky’ blows them all out of the water with it’s slight 80’s vibe and uber-catchy hook. The final track I want to mention is the down-tempo ‘Remember Your Love’ which, it’s safe to say, is my favourite cut on the album. Here E.G. are joined by Paul Creighton on vocals, to create a track reminiscent of classic Marvin or Stevie (yes it’s that good).

Excellent Gentlemen – Remember Your Love (snippet)

Overall I would say that this is definitely one of THE essential soul albums of 2009 and will definitely be making my ‘best of’ lists come December. Having released the album independantly there is always the chance that this album will pass by the majority so if your reading this check them out, buy a copy, and spread the word!

You can check out more from Excellent Gentlemen at their myspace page and you can purchase a copy of their album via CD Baby. After the break check out Steveland Swatkins showing off his talk box skills.

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