March Fourth Marching Band Rise Up

March Fourth Marching Band Rise Up
The dozens of instrumentalists, stilt walkers and flamenco dancers that make up this unstoppable marching band took three years to make their first studio album, and it's mostly worth the wait. "Ninth Ward Calling" establishes the New Orleans focus to the record ― part of the proceeds go to support non-profit musical heritage organizations in the city ― with a furious second line strut with a bit of a mambo feel. All the NOLA content on the disc fares quite well. The military snare propelling "Dynomite" anticipates their reading of Raymond Scott's Looney Tunes classic "Powerhouse" later in the disc. Other tunes aren't up to the same standard. The vocalizations of "Gospel" lack emotional heft, particularly in the hippie-scat midsection. "Simplon Cocek" is a technically underwhelming rendition of a Balkan traditional tune ― with their mandate to "cover every possible genre in the world," some will fare better than others. The successes outnumber the failures, and its dull spots should in no way dissuade you from experiencing them live, if you get the chance. (March Fourth)