The Fatback Band

Night Fever

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This 1976 release from Fatback is an odd proposition: While nothing on it is unlistenable, it is also lacks any memorable moments. The problems begin with the title track: While it bounds out of the gate with a forceful, funky energy, it also recycles riffs and structural ideas from their previous big hit, "Spanish Hustle." The rest of Night Fever plays out in a similarly uninspired fashion -- it has plenty of energy but lacks the quality songs and carefully constructed arrangements necessary to create a worthwhile dance music album. The result is an album that tries hard but ends up chasing its own tail. A lot of the tracks drive potentially exciting riffs into the ground because they lack an effective arrangement ("The Joint [You and Me]"), while other songs feature thegroup repeating a chant ad infinitum while the band performs an uninspired vamp in the background ("Disco Crazy" and "No More Room on the Dance Floor"). There is also an uninspired cover of the Four Seasons' hit "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)," which fails to add any new ideas to the sound or style of this song. The one track that manages to stand out is "If That's the Way You Want It": While this ballad is as minimalist in style as most of the other tracks here, it benefits from a solid arrangement, atmospheric synthesizer backing, and a truly lovely group-harmony hook. Unfortunately, this bright spot can't make up for the overwhelmingly lackluster quality of Night Fever. Even hardcore Fatback fans may want to think twice before picking this album up.

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