Stuff It

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The fact that there is a dozen people credited for backing vocals on this album, but no one for lead, says a lot. There is actually only one song, "Talkin' About My Love for You," with solo vocals, and the rest are instrumental, sometimes with vocal choruses. This could give a feeling of a karaoke record, but getting used to it one will find the tracks with backing vocals the album's strongest; for example, the introductory "Mighty Love," with the groove slowly building up to an irresistible frenzy. And the extremely skilled ensemble manages to do this trick even when conditions seem really bad, like in "Dance With Me," starting out with lazy synth strings, a bossa rhythm, and quiet backing vocals. When listeners dance to the funky beat at the end of the song, they are likely to have forgotten what it sounded like in the beginning. And Stuff is obviously not about writing durable songs, but doing party music with a highly competent band, and this time including a whole lot of gospel in the jazz-funk. The only time Stuff is disappointing is when they don't raise the tempo. "Rainbows" and "Gordon's Theme" may be important for the balance of the album, but are actually a bit boring, though the latter has some comic ingredients. But that is followed up by the magnificent "Talkin' About My Love for You." And it has been said before, but this will make everyone dance.

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