Saturday, October 22, 2011

...Bulletproof Brass!

by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

I've heard that this group really needs to be seen live to appreciate their true strength, but this debut, self-released album is really pretty impressive.  It has only six tracks, and clocks in at a scant twenty-four minutes, but it's the type of thing that can be left in your player on repeat for a couple of hours; you won't get tired of it (just skip the last track - more on that in a moment).

Since watching and getting hooked on Treme, I've found myself ever more drawn to that big brass sound, which HBE supplies in spades.  The album opens with 'Starfighter', a tribute to the film The Last Starfighter.  It's nice and loud, as are tracks like 'Touch The Sky', 'Kryptonite' (best track on the disc) and 'World Champions'.

Sun Ra pops by on 'Pluto', which is a more introspective number.  The only track I don't like is 'Black Boy', where someone named Kelan drones on and on about a child's nursery rhyme to which he ascribes great cosmic significance, of the kind that only comes to you after smoking a lot of weed or taking some other kind of drug.  It's a misstep, but coming at the end, it's easily skipped.

I appreciate the band's geek quotient (just look at that album cover), but the final word on this music matches what the band chants in 'Touch The Sky':  It feels good.

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