It's kind of difficult to describe what kind of music the Menahan Street Band make, although the ten tracks (there's also an unlisted 11th track) presented on this debut album share a certain pleasant, easy, and sunny vibe. All are unhurried instrumentals, and while it's tempting to call this stuff soul, it isn't that exactly. There's a jazz feel here, too, but it isn't exactly soul-jazz, either, and then there's a certain intangible Jamaican dub feel to how things are mixed, but one can't really call it dub, and while things get lightly funky now and then, it isn't funk. A loose-knit group of musicians drawn from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Dave Guy, Homer Steinweiss, Fernando Velez, Bosco Mann), El Michels Affair (Leon Michels, Toby Pazner), Antibalas (Nick Movshon, Aaron Johnson), and the Budos Band (Mike Deller, Daniel Foder), the Menahan Street Band recorded these tracks with producer Thomas Brenneck in his Menahan Street apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and if it's difficult to put a finger on what their sound should be labeled, it's not difficult to like it. Tracks like "Karina" and "The Traitor" have gently hypnotic and shifting grooves that have just enough nervous energy to stay interesting. Nothing here is going to set the world on fire but nothing here is going to make the world a worse place, either. The perfect Sunday morning listen.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett