[RATING: 5] I don’t think there’s much doubt that Eamon’s No Matter The Season will make it into the monkey’s top ten LPs of 2022. It’s his second album at his current home, Now Again Records and, like its predecessor features our mononymous hero unleashing his impressive singing range over music mainly crafted by sampling the label’s extensive library of vintage music. This is merely the latest and arguably the best instalment so far in an artistic reinvention that has some similarities with that of Beastie Boys i.e. initial mainstream mega-success followed by a disappearance into the underground only to re-emerge, funkier, rawer and with significantly more credibility. It’s a journey that began when Jedi Mind Tricks producer Stoupe and Eamon collaborated on the Golden Rail Motel LP, a project in which Now Again’s Egon immediately saw potential and promptly signed the singer to his label. 2020’s excellent Captive Thoughts subsequently followed and now this release.
Handling production on No Matter The Season are duo Likeminds, whose work on the LP very much clarifies the PR’s claim that their proficiency with samples is every bit the equal of their live-playing talents. On this drop, the samples are largely drawn from lesser-known afro-funk and Zam-rock – not that you’d necessarily pick up on that because the sampled elements are rarely overtly ‘Afro’ and the resulting songs, with an American voice on them, just sound plain funky or occasionally funk-rocky – and that’s in a Black Merda rather than Chili Peppers way). This is also an LP that’s all killer, no filler. There isn’t a cut on here that couldn’t go out as a single though, if you wanted to pick the most obvious A-side on the album it would probably have to be Come On Through, which pitches a massive horns-drenched soul-hook against verses underpinned by a more 90s hip-hop style beat. The other obvious dancefloor cuts are funky uptempo number Good News and the stanky groove of All I Want. Bury The Bones and Price To Pay on the other hand, come on musically like the aforementioned Black Merda or Hush-era Deep Purple (reflecting the way that 70s Zam-Rock channelled late sixties psych-rock) with Eamon belting out the soul on top. If you were really looking for the ‘Afro’ in the LP’s music, you’d most obviously find it on the layered percussion of Never Sleep, though Eamon’s soaring American soul vocal universalises (or perhaps internationalises) its musical origins. The balance is made up of funky soul chuggers like Won’t Stop Now or emotive torch songs like closer Long Road Ahead or the topical Ready For War – “I pray for peace but I’m ready for war.” He’s ready all right.
(Out now on Now Again Records)