The Blue Method | Kill the Music Vol. II

 

 

tbmcdcoverIf you're not a fan of horns, this album may not be for you, as it is saturated with them. If you are a fan of them, as I am, it will quite literally blow you away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plainly and simply, I really dig this CD. The Blue Method's sophomore effort, Kill the Music Vol. 2 is a powerhouse from an incredibly tight Philadelphia quintet and I haven't stopped listening to it since I got it. It has a little bit of everything I love about funk music with influences of some of the greatest bands of the craft including Parliament Funkadelic; Earth, Wind and Fire; Sly and the Family Stone; Fishbone; and at times, even similarities to fellow Philly groovemaster G. Love.

At the very least, Kill the Music Vol. II is a great party record. But it's really much more than that; a powerful layering of instrumentation and vocals led by Brian Williams, a big man with an even bigger voice—a throwback to classic soul men like Curtis Mayfield—who also plays a mean trumpet and trombone. Williams met the band's founding members, Guitarist Michael Patriarca and saxophonist Tom Long, through a mutual friend. Drummer Theron Shelton and bassist Rah Sungee round out the rhythm section.

Since its formation in 2001, The Blue Method has built a dedicated fan base along the East Coast through nonstop touring, averaging more than 150 shows a year and sharing the stage with acts such as Chick Correa, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, John Legend, Soulive, Little Feat, Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band, The Disco Biscuits, and Ween.

If you're not a fan of horns, this album may not be for you, as it is saturated with them. If you are a fan of them, as I am, it will quite literally blow you away. The lead-in to the album's first song, "Devils," sounds like a funked-up college marching band, quickly giving way to a groovy rhythm with horns sprinkled throughout.

The more pop-soul "Other Family" has a Sly and the Family Stone feel and features Scott Stallone on the Hammond Organ, giving the track a classic, 60s vibe. It's a little on the cheesy side, especially considering that the band's press info begs the question "Do you like your funk raw, dirty and a little dark?" This sound is nowhere near dark or dirty, in fact, it's squeaky clean.

"Fire it Up," a 40-second, a cappella, gospel choir-style layering of vocals accompanied only by the natural rhythm of stomping and clapping, serves as an intro to the full-on funky "Get back Home (The Bounce)," a George Clinton-esque, booty-shaker with sexed-up lyrics.

"Shine" is reminiscent of early Fishbone with a heavy horn section over funky guitar and baselines, and a catchy chorus with groovy background vocals.

The Blue Method slows things down for "…And How Does That Make You Feel," a '60s-inspired organ instrumental and "Rosa Lane," an extremely cool, jazzy, lounge-trippy instrumental with a funky baseline running throughout. This is music to sip martinis to on a sultry Saturday night.

"Spinning," one of the most mainstream and listenable tracks on the album, combines upbeat, funky bass and guitar riffs with powerful vocals by Williams and lyrics with a message, "We're all spinning on this earth, no one should be made to feel less than he is worth." It's sort of "Everyday People" for the modern age.

"In the Running" opens as a complete throwback to 70s Blaxploitation film soundtracks Shaft and Superfly complete with flutes, leading into a funky dance beat with harmonic backing vocals.

The bottom line is that, if you're a fan of the funk, you will enjoy Kill the Music Vol. 2, particularly at loud volumes. In fact, the stylized photo on the cover of the CD is of a blown-out speaker, seemingly bleeding. The liner notes indicate that said speaker was blown during the band's preview of this album. Urban myth perhaps—but I'd believe it. Turn it up!  A- | Amy Burger

RIYL: Fishbone, Parliament Funkadelic, Curtis Mayfield, Sly and the Family Stone

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