Album Review: The Budos Band III by The Budos Band
Great, Based on 5 Critics
PopMatters - 90 Based on rating 9/10
First off, can we get an Amen for Daptone Records? You know a label has arrived when you go from being pleasantly surprised at the consistent quality of each new release to just expecting excellence. We are now officially past that point: this Brooklyn collective has amassed a considerable stable of talent that has been making some of the best music around for several years. Thanks in no small part to the growing and richly-deserved success of label sweetheart Sharon Jones, Daptone Records went from being the little label that could to the major label that did.
After two well-received full-lengths and an EP, Staten Island's Budos Band return with III in 2010. The group's first two recordings walked a loose tightrope line between the modern jazzed-up Afro-beat sound of Antibalas and the soulful good-time funk groove of Sugarman 3. It's also true that while they fit the Daptone label's groove-centric aesthetic, III reveals a new direction, offering the view that they are also something other.
Predictability is underrated. Just about every band we love eventually undergoes a transformation-- sometimes it excites us, sometimes it pisses us off. And when a band covers the same ground repeatedly on their first few albums, sometimes that's a blessing, especially if what they were doing on their debut was invigorating right out the gate. The Budos Band are one of those groups.
“Egos suck,” says the Budos Band’s bassist Dan Foder. “That’s why bands don’t last more than two records.” And with upwards of 12 egos to contend with at one time, it’s a wonder the group gets anything done. But on their third album, The Budos Band III, and certainly throughout their career, the Budos Band have displayed a remarkable commitment to an aesthetic that feels more like a tight-knit family than a band.The group characterizes itself as “Staten Island instrumental afro-soul,” and perhaps the most potent of those qualifiers is their hometown.
When they went into the studio, the Budos Band thought they were going to be flipping their Afro-funk formula to embrace darker psychedelic rock sounds. Well, some of those touches did make it onto the album, but it's not as big a shift as it sounds on paper. Even when they go minor key and slap on the trippy effects, it still sounds like the tightly wound worldbeat soul they made their name with.