Title: Banooba's Travels
Catalogue Number: VuDu Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2004
If you like your music hot and funky, then this is the band for you. There are hints of Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. There is just a bit of pre-disco era Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind & Fire. And there is a tinge of Bob Marley for good measure. This is no musical house of straw, Banooba have built their sound out of the very best materials available.
They open with the reggae influenced infectious beat of "Sinora", a great understated dance number that sets you up for what is to follow. With "No Anesthesia" the band lift the tempo up a notch or two and we are now into a seriously funky groove. "Crazy Cab Driver" brings together funk and rock influences, interspersed with some jazz guitar that is all neatly coupled to a deep bass driven beat. While with songs like "Lovely", and especially "Sunshine", they show they can move effortlessly into more of a mellow soulful mood.
It is with "Chicken Wings" however that it all spectacularly comes together and we find them at their finger lickin' best as they get down and dirty with some New York style 'blaxploitation' funk that makes you feel good - as you know you should! The Godfather himself would have approved (and we're not talking about Marlon Brando here), definitely the highlight of the album.
At times they may sound raw, and then again at other times they sound polished. On occasions they are certainly raucous, yet they also have a gentle side. But their real skill lies in taking pieces of rock, jazz, soul and reggae and creating a wonderfully funky musical mosaic that everyone can enjoy.
October 4, 2007
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