The JG Embargo Band is a five-piece band from the UK that recently released Stooky Bill. They play instrumental music that varies from jazz to rock to funk and some other places in between. The EP feels a bit uneven because most of the time they are jumping from style to style (however they are also successfully blending styles) rather than approaching it from a distinct sound that the band has already formed. That being said there are some great, inspired moments on the EP. The band has some serious skill in the technical department and also are quite creative.
They open with “Shaolin Temple” which is seeped in a good amount of soul and funk. Just listening to the music makes you feel a little bit cooler. The bass line is boss and the ‘70s style synth is killer. It doesn’t take long for the music to progress into a barrage of sounds with the horns being in the forefront.
“Above Us” slows things down with Stevie Ray Vaughn-esque lead blues guitar and ghost-like vocal harmonies. There are definitely some interesting things going on here as the song progresses. I thought the way the vocal harmonies took over, as the focal point from the lead guitar was a unique move. Around two-minutes-and-thirty-seconds in they transition to a part that sounds reminiscent of Elton John. It sounded great.
“Falling” starts with an LA noir jazz feel that would work in any good detective movie. The beauty of the song is how it slowly transitions out of that style. Once the guitar comes in and the bass line changes the song feels different but not too much so that it's jarring.
“Stooky Bill” is a great track and arguable highlight amongst the mix. It’s the type of song that would work in one of those heist movies like Oceans 11. The sax is killer. They close with “Ostinato” which is a loose, free jazz jam session - another impressive tune.
The band goes five for five here. My only minor quibble is there wasn’t enough of an x-factor that gave definition to the band while they were seamlessly combining styles. They are on to something with their music. If they can build more of a foundation underneath the general idea they are experimenting with they will be golden.
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