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Ten Years On

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Album Review

As its title indicates, this veteran U.K. acid-funk quartet notched their first decade together with this 2009 release. The outfit already has a career overview in 2007's An Introduction to the New Mastersounds. Although the name of this album implies that it's another retrospective, it is actually a fresh collection of a dozen newly penned tunes. The foursome has worked the kinks out by now, and although they aren't venturing into previously unexplored territory, this is one more tight, tuneful, and hip-shaking collection of predominantly instrumentals. All but one is composed collectively by the members. The exception is also the lone vocal with American rock and soul singer Grace Potter fronting the Mastersounds as they contribute backing to her song "Nothing But the Water (ll)." Guest singers have appeared on previous albums from the combo, but Potter connects by adding the right amount of rugged R&B to the mix. Strains of gospel, country, and twang enliven the Mastersounds' already spirited jazz-funk with the more compact tracks appearing earlier in the set. The band is renowned on the jam circuit for its frisky improvisation, but on "OOOM," the longest selection clocking in at nearly nine minutes, they and guest saxist Skerik seem to lose the road map as the cut meanders to an end after a strong, somewhat spacy opening. The closing "Make Me Proud!" references organ combo music with Eddie Roberts' distinctive chicken-pickin' guitar lines peppered over Joe Tatton's bubbling, Booker T.-styled keyboards. Woodwind player Chip Wickham swings by to blow some hyperactive flute on the zippy "Chocolate Chip." Throughout, Simon Allen's crackling snare drives the rhythm section and provides the foot-tapping, Meters' inspired funk that has typically been at the heart of the U.K. act's approach. Without checking the liner notes, a song such as "MRG" seems like a Meters outtake or rare B-side. It's really a New Mastersounds composition, but between its snaky guitar line, organ/drum interplay, and taut yet flexible pocket, the U.K. group has nailed a vibe from the past and successfully bounced it into the future. Here's to the next ten years.

Customer Reviews

top stuff

One of the few albums I can honestly say does not have a duff track on it. Cielo is probably going to be responsible for loosening of the knees and spines like jelly all over the world. It's funky as hell. If you buy this and on the first listen are still stationery then you have issues which require professional help.

Trum tight!

Wickedly tight funk/R&B instrumental album which makes you stomp your feet and bop your head. Not heard much of this before but become an instant fan. Mix between 70's New York Harlem funk and the Beastie Boys intrumental tracks on their earlier albums. Track names very well chosen and make you want to roll out the pimp-mobile and start heading for the Brooklyn highway.


Formed: 1999 in Leeds, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the cornerstone acts of the U.K. retro-soul scene, the New Mastersounds play taut, old-school instrumental funk with a contemporary energy and an enthusiasm that has earned them rave reviews and led them to collaborate with a number of major acts in Britain and the United States. The New Mastersounds were formed in 1999 by guitarist Eddie Roberts, who was DJ'ing at a weekly club night in Leeds devoted to classic soul and funk. When the event moved to a new venue that covered two floors, Roberts...
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