Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Breaks from the Border' by The New Mastersounds!

If I had to describe The New Mastersounds' latest album in four words (I don't have to, but I will because well--why not), I'd choose: pristine, smug, fresh, distinguished.

And, if the album were an animal, it'd be a lioness. Sarabi (Simba's mom in The Lion King), to be precise.The British funk quartet's new album is just boss. And there's more good news where that came from: they'll be playing at the Bear Creek Festival in Florida this upcoming November. So pack up your coolers, deluxe lawn chairs with cup holders, a canopy or two, sunscreen, buy your tickets early and leave the haters behind.

Oh, and pick up Breaks from the Border first. Did I mention that it's great?


This album is clean, from beginning to end. It opens with the track Take What You Need, featuring super smooth, groovy bass lines, subtle yet shouty vocals, catchy riffs and mild distortion. The guitarist's precise and technical picking continues throughout the entire album and is undeniably present in tracks like Run The Gauntlet and my personal favorite, Freckles.

The drumming is also light, but powerful. It's the perfect blend of a rolling, tapping jazzy type drumming style with a solid vintage-like thumping. The two methods meld seamlessly into a neatly tied package of drumming bliss.


The New Mastersounds are confident in the superiority of their sound-- and it shows. The lyrics are simple and work in conjunction with, instead of against, the trim sound of the instruments. The collective sounds on this album never fight for attention. Songs like Passport and Up In The Air display the band's smooth sound and sleek talent without being overly showy. The album as a whole has an air of utter correctness, making it impossible to imagine any of these four guys ever playing a sour note, producing a sloppy tune or spilling Ranch into the Italian dressing at a salad bar. Wait, what?


This album is fresh to death. Which, according to urban dictionary means inexplicably good. And that's not a phrase I use often (or ever).

The album is also fresh in the sense that every song is it's own sound. Sure, the entire thing is a cohesive piece of work, but the constant shift in tempo, the switch to an occasional reggae/ska style and the overall pacing of the album keeps your interest piqued throughout. Just when you've gotten comfortable with the smooth drumming and technical guitar riffs, they'll switch it up by picking up the tempo, throwing in a piano or changing the vocal style. On the Border, a slow, bass-y piano ballad, comes right on the heels of a fast track then transitions into something more upbeat. Can You Get It has the charm of a song from a rambling jam-band while instrumental tracks like Josus offer a surprising change from the sultry vocals.


Few artists can pull of what the Mastersounds are able to in this album. They easily master the 'vintage' feel of older rock and mix it effortlessly with jazz influences, among others. They change the tempo in nearly every song, sing when they feel like it, reference countless musical styles-- and they do it well.

The end song of this album is the shiny bow on top of a perfectly wrapped gift. It's reminiscent of everything that makes the listening experience enjoyable. It's a super chill, smooth ending to a super chill, smooth album.

It's Festival Time

The Bear Creek Music Festival will be in Live Oak, Florida on November 10-13th and The New Mastersounds are in there like swimwear. Get your favorite concert buddies, your lawn chairs and your canopy and go watch them folks! You just can't miss them!

No comments: