Third Coast Kings

Third Coast Kings

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Third Coast Kings Review

by Mark Deming

Is Ann Arbor, Michigan the new center of the funk universe? No, of course not, but Third Coast Kings certainly nudge the axis in their hometown's direction on this self-titled album. Playing tough, tight funk/R&B workouts in the late-'60s/early-'70s manner, Third Coast Kings have learned the lessons of the past, fused them with a young man's energy and imagination, and come up with an album that honors their obvious influences while sounding fresh, lively, and fun. Vocalists Sean Ike and Michelle Camilleri boost the soul factor in these songs when they step up to the microphone, but the band is every bit as strong and more eclectic on its instrumentals, where the horn players have a greater chance to color their musical space and the melodies veer off into jazzy tangents, though thankfully without losing focus or descending into weak-kneed fusion. The songs don't break a whole lot of new ground, but they manage not to sound rote or clich├ęd, either, which puts them ahead of a number of current retro-funk combos, and the material swings hard while the players show how much they can do, both individually and as a collective. And the clean, straightforward production gets the group's sound on plastic with no fuss and no muss. If you want to hear a band cut a righteous groove, you want to hear Third Coast Kings, and this album shows their abundant talent and potential to their best advantage.

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