I remember listening to Steve Hensby more than two years when Rebecca Rothschild reviewed their self-titled album. It’s been awhile since I listened to it but I remember how fun their music was. Suffice it to say their most recent release Chase The Sun feels like a party. I mean this is music you want to put on if you want to get people dancing and smiling.
The songs are funky like Jame Brown and George Clinton but also can rock and there is also some hip-hop. That’s honestly just scratching the surface. There are so many styles the band just conquers with absolute ease.
The album starts with the title track “Chase The Sun.” I almost don’t know where to start with a song like this. It’s absurdly catchy, it’s funky and they even seem to combine ska and hip-hop which on paper sounds like it could have issues but it doesn't. A big part of the brilliance on this song is just how seamless the flow is.
The horns on “Time’s Up” were so upbeat and fun I think the groove can cure minor bouts of depression. It’s another funky song with so many great riffs and memorable vocal melodies. That chorus should be blasted in the middle of a busy city street for no other reason than to pick up the pace and add a little spice to that margarita.
By the time I got to “Tale of a Slide Trombone” I was sure the band was screwing with me. They pull off this slick mariachi style, slow down the tempo, speed it back up and still manage to slap you in the face with wonderful vocals.
That’s the first three songs. The band is really just getting going. There is a waltz and the vocalist sings beautifully on “Naf Naf.” There is even a stripped back song entitled “Passport Smiles” that is reminiscent of folk acts like Simon & Garfunkel. I want to emphasize they probably could have done a whole album in this style and it would have been beautiful. This song sure is. They display this again on “Clara Bell” which has a female singer. “Caught in the Middle” is American infused folk in the spirit of Fleet Foxes while “Willing the Rapture” is off kilter funk with heavy drums.
One of the criticisms I will usually mention in my reviews is that some bands attempt too many styles. This often leads to a less cohesive experience because the band is not creating a signature sound. Steve Hensby Band might be the exception to the rule. They do justice to every style they attempt and then some to a point where it’s almost weird. I hope they consider that a compliment because it’s meant to be.
This album is an exceptional album. Highly recommended
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