The Music Band

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Adding vocalist Alice Tweed Smith to their lineup, and jumping ship to the MCA label, were occasions that only furthered War's slide into a decisive end-of-decade malaise as they followed their hit label debut, Galaxy, with The Music Band in spring 1979. The lackluster start to a series of three loosely connected albums, The Music Band revealed a late-decade War not as the fierce funkers they once were, but as the purveyors of a lite jazzy disco that occasionally scraped the bottom of a now well-worn barrel in a fruitless search for some classic rhythms. Jumping straight into the fray with the title track, War deliver a mid-tempo tribute to their fans that would have been more at home on the stage of some rock opera than on what one hoped would be a funk album. This experience is repeated at the end, too, as the band drops the curtain with the oddly reggae-inflected "All Around the World." However, there is some redemption, as War finally remember what they do best across the jazzy jam of "Millionaire" and the disco fusion of "Good Good Feelin'." But those are the high points in what is, overall, a disappointing set and a horrific precursor to two more volumes of self-gratifying concept rock, as War shifted gears and tried to figure out where their politicized funk belonged in an age without substance.

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