The Blue Method

Kill the Music, Vol. 2

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This Philadelphia quartet brings the soul, funk, and jazz in equal measures on its sophomore release. Influenced by the tough vibe of Sly Stone, Rick James, Prince, James Brown, and '70s R&B, the band isn't creating anything particularly innovative, yet what it does, it does extremely well. Singer Brian Williams guides the group through singalong choruses with powerful pipes, sometimes shifting into falsetto mode. But reed player Tom Long seems to be the band's de facto leader, and producer Scott Stallone, who also contributes keyboards, pushes all the right buttons. Despite the band's moniker, there aren't any blues here. Instead, there is plenty of riff-happy, party-styled funk-jazz. The playing is taut and tightly wound with ample detours and overdubs to keep it interesting. The innovative arrangements occasionally bring songs to a dead stop, only to crash back into the track's main lick, as they do in "Shine." Parts of "Think a Minute" recall Steely Dan, but as a whole, the sound is more soul than jazz. Most of the material runs over four minutes, yet nothing is extended unnecessarily and some of the shorter tunes even seem like they end too soon. The instrumental "Rosa Lane" brings a Crusaders vibe and the flute and wah-wah guitar on the intro to "In the Running" sound like an Isaac Hayes outtake from Shaft. The breakneck pace of "Let Me See You" ignites a wild groove that twists and turns in so many directions, it could be considered prog funk. The recording's full sound is attributable in part to its deep, thumping bass that makes songs jump out of the speakers, turning any room into a dancefloor. This is a real find, especially for those into the heavy funk-soul-jazz acts of the '70s.

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