YORK STREET HUSTLE: Cruelty EPRating: ★★★★★ York Street Hustle get five monkey stars for achieving the retro funky soul equivalent of transmuting base elements into gold with their Cruelty EP and releasing music that genuinely sounds like it could have been made back in the day as opposed to being made in the style of back in the day. When you couple the ten-piece band’s accomplished re-creation of the sound of yore with the fact that label Brewerytown Records have made it their mission to reissue rare as many rare Philadelphia soul nuggets as they can get their hands on it becomes doubly difficult for anyone unfamiliar with York Street Hustle to tell by ear if they’ve happened across new dope or a long-lost classic.  While none of the tracks possesses the strings that perhaps are best associated with the Philly Soul sound, the band has horns in spades – not to mention no fewer than three vocalists.  Three cuts featured on the EP are the driving heavy breaks-tastic All Beak instrumental and the lowrider soul of There’s Nothing Better Than Love in both falsetto-drenched vocal and instrumental versions.  It’s the title cut’s gorgeous slice of lyrically secular soul with sonic gospel flourishes that takes really the laurels though.  Criminally only available on CD and digital format currently, though surely public pressure could force a rethink when the pressing plants re-open…
(Out now on Brewerytown Recrods)