Down To The Bone – The Main Ingredients
(Dome CD 309. CD Review by Mark Ramsden)
Down To The Bone were formed in 1996 and have kept up a consistently high standard ever since, packaging their music as if it were American, a strategy that has paid off on both sides of the Atlantic. The Main Ingredients has the familiar keyboard-led glossy production, tasteful arranging – vibes, a very tight brass section, funky guitar – drums that might even have Jacob Rees-Mogg loosening one of his waistcoat buttons. Maybe.
Funk. Soul. Jazz. says their website which is the ingredients in the right order. Some call this Nu Soul. Lonnie Liston Smith and other American greats now being repackaged as Smooth are the chief inspirations. The more vintage amongst us may remember Shakatak or Swing Out Sister, who also combined jazz harmonies, soulful melodies and funk grooves, mellifluous earworm-laden tunes which cross over effortlessly to a pop audience – (both great bands, and still gigging). Staten Island Groove, (from the CD From Manhattan to Staten) is the perfect prelude to empathic clubbing, or the best headphone accompaniment to long, slow distance jogging. You could even just listen to it. With contributions from a jazz master such as Neil Angilley there’s plenty of cerebral candy, in addition to the beat which just won’t quit. Staten Island Groove is as insistent as a cat demanding to know why you’re not on tin-opening duties. Slick. Silky. Insidious. Killer groove, pleasure laden hooks, a Maceo-esque saxophonist leaving plenty of space.
Standout cut for me on The Main Ingredients is Universal Vibe
a lovely mellow trumpet theme, wistful minor chords, the usual shuffle of grooves and tone colours. Imaani contributes strong soulful vocals on Closer. South Side Overdrive is uptempo and frisky.
You can’t please all the people all the time? They’re making a pretty good stab at it. You’d have to be a dance-phobic Grinch to dislike this. Lovely stuff.
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