Galactic Ya-Ka-May

Galactic Ya-Ka-May
Super-talented New Orleans funk band Galactic have gone for high concepts in their last two albums; they basically attempted to synthesize the Big Easy's rich cultural crosscurrents into a new musical vision. Ya-Ka-May's guest list is spectacular, from soul queen Irma Thomas to bounce king Cheeky Blakk, with the dean himself, Allen Toussaint, lending vocals. The proceedings feel like a mash-up, and like most mash-ups, some work and some don't. The underlying funk is often undercut by too-busy production. Thomas is chopped and channelled to ill effect in "Heart of Steel" and Bo Dollis (of the Wild Magnolias) struggles to be heard in "Wild Man," as wickedly compressed drums and other bells and whistles swirl around him. Things are best with a more relaxed touch, as in the straightforward horn jam "Cineramascope" and blues master Walter Wolfman Washington's mellow "Speaks His Mind." Still, keep following this band because they have all the tools to make a really great statement one of these days. (Anti)