Galactic drummer Stanton Moore returns for his sophomore solo effort on a major label with a host of super-choppers at his side, including Chris Wood from Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Greyboy Allstars' Karl Denson, saxophonist Skerik, guitarist Brian Seeger, and New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians and all around vocalists extraordinaire the Wild Magnolias. As on his debut, All Kooked Out, Moore's primary motivating factor is the almighty groove and how to present it in challenging, innovative settings. And he does it here. There's the jazzed-out funky romp of "Tang the Hump," with a subtle New Orleans second-line rhythm backing up the syncopation. And then there's the drum skank on "Fallin' off the Floor," where Chris Wood and Moore play deep, blue funk as the horns play the line. But Moore is also capable of being a jazzer, and he displays this to the hilt on the beautifully driven, R&B-inflected "Prairie Sunset," whose lyrical invention is as gorgeously intricate as any saxophonist's. Also is the deep funk jazz on the intense, jam-oriented "Launcho Diablo," with dueling flute and saxophones in between the rhythmic accents. The drive here is almost Afro-funk, but its architecture is strictly jazz, with the knotty key changes and improvised middle, with a screaming guitar solo Seeger. Moore is a solid bandleader and composer who stresses the groove as the backbone of every track; everything must move along a perimeter of backbone slipping greasy punch, no matter where it comes from originally or gets to. In many ways, as satisfying as Galactic can be live, Moore manages to be the same way on record. He's got the party fully in hand and knows how to make its dynamics work, carrying the listener up to the threshold, slipping them into a little loose-groove meditation, and carrying them out on the steaming rhythmic rail. This is every bit as good as his debut and is as good as any New Orleans record you're likely to find in the 21st century.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek