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THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS: Made For Pleasure (2015)

Made For Pleasure Nedw MastersoundsIt’s The New Mastersounds tenth studio LP Made For Pleasure! Can we expect it to dangle a few expert pastiches of New Orleans funk grandaddies The Meters right before our ears and brazenly flaunt some expert pastiches of Grant Green-era Blue Note material? We can! As is traditional with the band, it’s the opener (also the title track) which finds the Metersounds lighting that ol’ fire on the bayou right up. Then you’ve got Cigar Time which might as well have been called Grant Time! But are they as good as previous such pastiches? Er – pretty much. They even do their occasional trick of combining Meters-style grooves with Grant Green-ish guitar on the same track – step forward Sitting On My Knees which teams down-home swamp funk breaks and scorching organ with Green-style guitar licks.

So what’s new? Well, for starters, the whole LP was cut in the band’s spiritual home the Big Easy this time and on the blues-tinged Pho Baby guitarist Eddie Roberts takes acid and goes all Clapton. Vietnam’ll do that to a man though. Elsewhere, there’s the hectic wah-wah vs horns head-to-head of seventies car chase theme High & Wide and the band dip their toes in reggae once more with the vintage Studio One style antics of Iggy Azalea cover Fancy. Fancy! There’s also Let’s Do Another which tops a funky break with Rhodes-y reflection and a trio of vocal tracks. Vocal tracks? Yep – step forward Native American vocalist and former American Idol contestant Charly Lowry. American Idol? No, really. But you can’t argue with the results. Just Gotta Run has a big soul-jazzy vibe, Enough Is Enough walks a sister-funk line while, best of all, the gospel-ish Joy is this LP’s King Comforter.

Made For Pleasure then – not so much trading your old New Mastersounds in for a younger model (a ‘new’ New Mastersounds, if you will), more spicing up your old New Mastersounds with a foreign location, a bit of musical role-play and inviting along a saucy young lady who’s down for a bit of fun(k).
(Out now on Legere Recordings)

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