The Budos Band
The Budos Band III
Holy afro-soul-pysch-funk! Or, something like that. Staten Island’s resident afro-beat funksters, The Budos Band, have returned for their third full-length installment, appropriately titled The Budos Band III. It’s rather difficult to classify the brand of music that The Budos Band creates, as the ten-plus musicians foray into nearly every musical territory possible. Although the music is sprawling, it is nonetheless fascinating in every sense – relentlessly begging its listeners’ ears for more attention.
One thing is for sure. As anyone who has followed the career of The Budos Band will know, this group loves its horns, especially trumpets, and this album is no exception. It may be said that the true root of this music lies in its rhythms (punching basslines and crafty drum sequences that openly invite world influences), however the music here is actually driven by the melodies from the horn section.
The reliance on horns is quite bold, and it also acts as a gift and a curse. Upon first listen, the not-so-subtle melodies make the music at once catchy and memorable. It wouldn’t be a stretch to find yourself humming one of the 11 tunes somewhere away from the record. However, the insistence on blaring horns also poses limitations. At times the horns become such the forefront of the music that the deeper percussive sequences – which are at times astonishingly brilliant – may be lost without detailed listening. The Budos Band is at its best when it finds a healthy balance between its melodies and percussive instruments, or even when it substitutes trumpets for a saxophone, which lends a jazzier feel to the music (see: “Unbroken, Unshaven”).
Despite its short playtime (38 minutes), The Budos Band III, fulfills most of the listeners wants. Keeping the album on the shorter end is a wise choice here, because it ensures that the music does not become trite and redundant, which may be a possibility had it gone much further. That said, The Budos Band III is a remarkably cohesive album, and despite the lack of surprises, it’s one tremendously enjoyable listen.