With funk and soul revivalists still in high demand, Staten Island’s The Budos Band makes a welcome entrance onto the scene with their somewhat familiar and always soulful brand of afro-influenced instrumental music heard on their self-titled debut. Unlike other modern afrobeat, funk and soul groups like Antibalas or Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, however, who incorporate vocals into their music, The Budos Band stands without the use of any lyrics - ever. This Staten Island collective relies strictly on their deft musicianship, and for the better part of this 11-track-album, that’s a very good thing. No doubt, the average listener relishes in hearing a catchy hook or relatable lyrics, but the music of The Budos Band is strong enough to stand on it’s own.
Thick bass licks, playful trumpet sections and pulsing bongo taps are only a few elements of this 11-piece assemblage. And they use their massive orchestra to create cool afrobeat-induced rhythms one moment (“Monkey See, Monkey Do”) and wild soul escapades the next (“Budos Theme”). Their compositions often sound like something you’d dig out of a dusty bin at the record store, but while The Budos Band creates a vintage feel, there’s also a certain element of freshness about this record. And this is largely due to the youthful vigor these cats bring in creating these undeniably funky instrumentals. These are the type of beats that hip-hop was created from and they’re the type of beats that will help keep the essence of hip-hop alive. Don’t let this one slip through the cracks.
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