The New Mastersounds hit the Brit-funk scene in 2000, with a stripped-down music that was equal parts Meters groove, the syncopated invention of the J.B.'s' rhythm section, and the good-time feel of prime Booker T. & the MG's. That said, while deeply influenced -- to the point of obsession -- with the aforementioned artists, this quartet has put its own stamp on tight, dynamic instrumental funk. On Masterology, the band's musical development is charted from its first single, 2000's "Ode to Bobbie Gentry," right through to "Dusty Groove," from 2009's Ten Years On. Other highlights include -- but are far from limited to -- the woolly psychedelic funk in "La Cova" from their debut concert album, the skittering soul-jazz of "Colorado Sun (Jesse's Backyard)" from 102%, and the break-driven syncopation of "Can't Hold Me Down" from Be Yourself. The punchy guitar groove in "Thermal Bad" from Plug & Play, the shimmering groove in "Idris," and the closing cover of Jack McDuff's "Butter for Yo' Popcorn," from a French single, testify that the New Mastersounds are much more than retro funkateers; they are genuine innovators capable of putting their own stamp on whatever they choose to play. There is an earlier compilation entitled An Introduction to the New Mastersounds, released by Légère Recordings in 2007, but since only three tracks are duplicated, interested parties need have no fear. This set is the better of the two and offers a more well-rounded introduction to the band.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek