It’s rare that after three albums and an EP a band can maintain such a distinctive sound. But the Budos Band are masters of combining nearly every genre that gave birth to hip hop in to one sonic punch to the stomach that never felt so good. They manage to play elements of jazz, afrobeat, funk and soul to with nearly every instrument they can find and twist and turn every genre upside down.
The album kicks off with “Rise of the Ancients”, the first of many tracks invoking gloom and doom. Only instead of shredding guitars and hard kick drums, it’s bursting horns carrying the length of the song, before the bongos come in like it’s the same session that birthed “Apache.”
“Black Venom” carries the slithering theme from the front of the cover through bongos and a syncing guitar line, before a response call from some Spanish horns, showing the Budos Band can take you all over the world in one song. They follow with more reptilian tales on “River Serpentine”, which is one of the most laid back tracks on the album. It’s a good change of pace, but the music still sounds ominous.
On “Unbroken, Unshaven” the band truly gets dirty. This is grimy funk; the type of music that could only come from an outfit based out of New York. It could be the theme to a cop movie where the bad guys win and the audience cheers. Later in the album they continue to slow their pace something previous albums never allowed. “Raja Haje” lets the horns roll over the drums, with the guitar licks providing a bed for all the other sounds floating over the top.
The album ends with what can only be described as a spookier version of “Day Tripper”, with “Reppirt Yad”. At times you’ll feel like you’re hearing the Beatles before it disappears back into the abyss of their own song. It’s one of the only times vocals appear on the album, although they mostly take the place of what sounds like moaning ghosts.
What is most impressive about the Budos Band is they are taking genres that have been done to death and combining them but creating what is a brand new sound. They don’t sound like any other afrobeat band, any funk band or any soul band. They sound like themselves and create music that just can’t be replicated.
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