The Fatback Band


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NYCNYUSA is an improvement over 1976's lackluster Night Fever, but not by much. It suffers from the same problem that plagues many of the albums in the Fatback catalog: While the group has no problem generating solid grooves, they often have trouble translating them into enough solid songs to sustain an album. Inconsistent material continues to be a problem on NYCNYUSA: "Spank the Baby" layers a chant that is inane even by disco standards over a repetitive jam while "Duke Walk" sinks the pleasant quality of its pop-reggae feel with a dull arrangement that lacks any interesting twists and turns. Another problem track is "Cosmic Woman," which fails to make to good on the promise of its interesting title due to uninspired lyrics and a humdrum groove. Despite these inconsistencies, the album does manage to produce some strong tracks: the title track pays affectionate tribute to the band's birthplace with a nice combination of carefully layered harmony vocals and a catchy tune full of pop hooks, while "Love Street" effectively layers exuberant horns over a forceful bassline to create an effective fusion of soul grooves and pop hooks. Fatback also scored an R&B chart hit with "Double Dutch," which pits dance instructions against a pulsating groove to create another in the group's long line of trademark dance-craze songs. In short, NYCNYUSA is too inconsistent for the casual track but offers a few worthwhile tracks that might please the Fatback fanatic.

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