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8/10 Avi

GALACTIC - Into The Deep - CD - Mascot Label Group - 2015

We typically don't care much for funk, but every now and then comes a musical offering that manages to shake our preconceptions of the genre.

On paper, this release has all the ingredients to deter us. It holds festive, happy music. It uses a stellar cast of guests (we typically prefer organic units) and it uses funk as its principal vehicle. Strangely enough, we find it to be a cohesive and rewarding listening.

The opening instrumental "Sugar Doosie" brings on the funky, party music vibe with a celebrative horns section, a wrenched trombone feature and some embedded shouts of enthusiasm before the song "Higher and Higher," which features JJ Grey (whose recent release is also reviewed in this issue) on vocals, carries you higher and higher with its loopish, electro-funk / R&B grabs you.

When you think things can't get any better, the title track hits you on a different note. It's a mellow number, with Macy Gray hitting the right notes; emotionally that is.

This New Orleans band has been around for twenty years or so, and it certainly knows its craft. The following numbers keep flowing, as the album's clever arrangement continues without any setbacks. Some other highlights include the vintage rock and roll groove of "Long Live The Borgne," which relies on bass and electric guitars as well as keyboards; the sexy, modern R&B song "Right On" (Ms. Charm Taylor's vocal delivery is really tasty, and it's the kind of tracks we would not have believed we can listen to, yet alone enjoy - but we do!); and the surprisingly frightening, alien-like instrumental "Buck 77."

Oh, and you'll find another heartwarming song in the form of "Does It Really Makes A Difference" and a patient yet uplifting, bluesy, organ instrumental as the closing piece - and these help the album maintain the right balance between its party and its affectionate elements. Coming to think of it, we basically covered it all.

With Into The Deep, the joy of life just springs out of the speakers. Who would not want that? (8/10)


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