Published Mar 07, 2014The New Mastersounds, a four-piece funk band out of Leeds, is perhaps having an identity crisis. After 15 years of performing, ten years of U.S. working visas, and now a ninth studio album, the "New" prefix may be out of place. Rather than wallow, a self-prescribed dose of Therapy has the band getting back to their feet, and will get you on yours, too. The majority of the album keeps to the instrumental jam band format, equally showcasing playing chops, diverse tastes and an utmost respect for the pocket.
The group pays homage to a variety of influences along the way. "Monday Meters" is a grotty nod to the influence the Meters have had on the New Mastersounds and pretty much every funk band going, whereas "When It Rains…" employs the string-backed four-on-the-floor mellow vibe made famous by MFSB. Ryan Zoidis and Kim Dawson contribute guest vocals to the project on the songs "Slow Down," "Soul Sista" and "I Want You To Stay," the latter two of which feature such multifarious performances by Dawson that they'd fool you into thinking there are two different singers on those songs.
The one exception to the dance floor readiness of the project is the straight jazz "Detox" that, while certainly good in its own right, doesn't fit into the party atmosphere of the other 11 songs. The album closes with a cover of Bruno Mars' "Treasure" (full disclosure: my jam) that's a little looser than the original but is every bit as danceable. Therapy may or may not be the answer to your tribulations, but the New Mastersounds provide a welcome escapist episode if nothing else. (One Note Records)