4 – The Bamboos

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It’s the fourth time through for this ensemble and very few get down like this band of brothers from Down Under. Album number four captures the Bamboos at their funkiest, acknowledging their influences of the past while still managing to convey a fresh and modern sound. Head straight to “Turn It Up” for the surefire party starter, featuring Lyrics Born who turns in another memorable performance. “You Ain’t No Good” is the one-two punch follow-up.

Singer Kylie Auldist is featured on the majority of the album and it’s easy to hear why. She’s got killer pipes and her delivery can be as forceful as the band’s horn section. Auldist is to The Bamboos what Sharon Jones is to The Dap-Kings: it’s an undeniable match made in funk and soul heaven. Albums these days rarely start better than “On The Sly”; the horns are in your face and so is sister Kylie, standing tall, her voice full of strength and sass. The Motown-drenched “Never Be The Girl” is a 2010 gift from Hitsville, U.S.A. as Auldist sings the blues and the band orchestrates a shiny pop gem. Of all her moments to shine on the album, “Keep Me In Mind” captures Kylie at her brightest and most powerful.

Although this album may be short on instrumentals, it would be foolish to overlook them, particularly the sitar-led “Up On The Hill.” Selections like these show the band’s ability to look beyond usual soul and funk strategies. One can’t help but think of action films and chase scenes while checking out “Red Triangle” and “Typhoon,” which leaves one to wonder why they have not yet been called upon to provide the score for such projects. Don’t be surprised if such opportunities await The Bamboos. It‘s safe to say that 4 is their breakthrough album.