The Brand New Heavies

Get Used to It

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The most surprising thing about Get Used to It is that the Brand New Heavies sound very much like an honest-to-gosh band instead of the instrumental unit with a hired frontwoman they always have been. Out of the BNH crew for a decade, vocalist N'Dea Davenport returns and it's both familiar and just like starting over. Young upstart hunger drips out of the opening "We've Got," a slinky slice of funk that introduces what's going to be a mature album with more punch than ever. There are the usual horns and "music turns me on" type lyrics plus Davenport's just perfect voice, but Get Used to It resists wandering into the musical theatrics this skillful group could be accused of overindulging in the past. While the glorious "Music" flirts with electronic dance music and the cool "Don't Know Why (I Love You)" lays some unneeded strings onto its soulful groove, the majority of the album is stripped-down and wonderfully tight. The songwriting is right there, too, with Davenport delivering a handful of empowering or poignant songs that temper drummer and other main lyricist Jan Kincaid's cool acid jazz anthems. As the organic and easy rolling "I've Been Touched" delicately comes apart and fades, it's hard to recall a time this band have delivered an album so well constructed start to finish. They've traded fireworks for fire here, and no one who loves gutsy, vintage grooves should be caught without a copy.

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