This gritty New Orleans-styled band led by slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein takes a humorous romp through familiar originals and revamps from Nirvana's "About a Girl" to James Brown's "Please, Please, Please." Bernstein's cohorts are alto and baritone saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr, who also doubles as acoustic guitarist, and drummer and percussionist Kenny Wollesen, with many guests, including several string musicians such as violinist Charles Burnham (of the Susie Ibarra Trio), and DJ Logic, who has worked with Medeski, Martin & Wood. With more selections, more originals, and more time together as a band, this follow-up album surpasses their debut, Din of Inequity (both on Knitting Factory). The album opens with the title track, an original composition featuring DJ Logic (who is heard later on the "Ruby Tuesday" cover) on turntables. Next comes what Bernstein dubs a grunge-done-Kansas-City-style reconfiguring of Kurt Cobain's hit, followed by a slightly smarmy version of the standard "Fernando," giving it a warped-record feel with Art Ensemble-reminiscent soloing and a more open framework. Also irreverent is Sex Mob's interpretation of Duke Ellington's classic, "The Mooch," which is fittingly described in the liner notes as being "in Storyville on mescaline." Other covers that stand out include: the slowed-to-a-halting-slide of the Grateful Dead staple, "Ripple," which is all blues trumpet and bass for the first half, with strings (many of the tracks have at least two guests on strings) joining in the background for the second half; the alternately slowed-down and sped-up, drunken-binge treatment of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday"; and James Brown's "Please, Please, Please" with three cellos and a violin filling in as the backup chorus. Occasionally, the musician's avant-jazz leanings break through, as in the short "Human Bidet 4," but mostly these skilled players serve it up fun and dirty, which is exactly what Sex Mob intended.
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne