Yohimbe Brothers The Tao of Yo

Two founding members of the Black Rock Coalition — Vernon Reid and DJ Logic —team up once again as the Yohimbe Brothers with a mission to fuse varied musical genres with lots of guitars. It should be apparent now, after a recording career spanning more than two decades that Vernon Reid is not the most dangerous guitarist around. He can play as fast as he wants to, but never sounds terribly threatening. This element gives a fundamentally poppy sheen to this whole disc, but most of The Tao of Yo works fine by playing up its hooky elements. "Shine For Me" is a pretty convincing dancehall rhythm without any patois or stereotypical effects (gunshots, test tones etc.) to typecast it as Jamaican; its rap is pretty abstract too with a nice flow of non sequiturs. Heavily politicised raps are delivered on "More From Life" and "Words They Choose," but I wonder how these will hold up a few years from now. Even after two decades of artists fusing rap with any other musical form outside the main canon of hip-hop, there is the risk of corniness if the beats aren't absolutely ill. Fortunately, Logic and production duo Good and Evil heighten the proceedings with interesting grooves, featuring large helpings of go-go (a style overdue for a second look) and outernational rhythms. Throughout the disc, Reid's metalloid guitar is well mixed and deployed and affixed to relevant songwriting ideas, making it more than tolerable. His best moments are the instrumentals "Shape 1" and "Noh Rio,” which find his strumming paired with scratched tap dancing, cornet, drum kit and other percussive elements into an indefinable blend. (Thirsty Ear)