If you were paying attention round about the middle of April, you’ll have noticed the rather sexy ‘library music’ type 45 In The City b/w Jam slip out from the Smuggler Brothers. And if you noticed that, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on the full-length job, Musione. It’s actually the band’s second album, their self-titled debut having come out in 2015, four years after their founding but was swiftly followed by a near dissolution of the whole project as various members of what had become an eight-piece outfit departed. Luckily the arrival of a number of new musicians and the guiding hand of Massimo Martellotta of Italian library-music/ crime-funk legends Calibro 35 has ensured that Smuggler Brothers live to fight another day.
And that day is one in which you will find soundtracked by quality instrumentals that draw both from the same sixties and seventies crime-flick wellsprings that have been tapped to such great effect by Calibro 35, but also evincing spaghetti western, afrobeat and jazzy stylings too. The first track proper, Siciliano (presumably named in honour of the fact that the band hail from Italy’s most famous island) manages to combine both the sweeping but funky grandeur of a retro crime flick theme whilst also (due to the inclusion of a very distinctive bit of jaw-harp) evoking a sense of Ennio Morricone. By contrast (and without dropping an iota of funkiness) the next track, Kemonia Flow, heads sonically to the musical realm of Mulatu Astake. Also keep your ears peeled for Gran Fango which arguably owes more to seventies shlock horror soundtracks and the schizophrenic Deciditi Bestia which runs the gamut from guitar-led funk rock, through brisk jazz-funky action to the kind of tongue-in-cheek slo-mo male voice ‘mmmms’ and ‘haaahs’ once the province of Yello. And if that doesn’t reel you in, I don’t know what will.
(Out now on Schema Records)