Album Review

The Budos Band, ‘III’

By Stuart Munro
Globe Correspondent / August 9, 2010

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The Budos Band calls what it’s doing “Afro-soul,’’ but that descriptor doesn’t really do the music justice. The latest from the all-instrumental outfit crystallizes what the Budos is all about: creating a coherent, uniform aesthetic out of committed ensemble playing. That aesthetic starts with album titles (or lack thereof — they’ve come labeled simply “I,’’ “II,’’ and “III’’), cover art (a scorpion on “II,’’ here a coiled cobra about to strike) and song titles (a sampling: “Rite of the Ancients,’’ “Black Venom,’’ “Nature’s Wrath,’’ “Crimson Skies,’’ “Mask of the Unnamed’’). And over the course of 10 originals (and one cover, a “where have I heard that before?’’ reconfiguration of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper’’), it finds expression in a sound that is equal parts ominous, noir-ish, epic, and cinematic; shot through with psychedelic flashes and horror-flick vibes, garage-soul organ swirls and twangy, spacey guitar runs, bleating baritone sax and melancholy, echoing trumpet, and the relentless, combined rhythmic force of congas, bongos, cowbell, claves, shakere, and drums. The result is a brand of soul music that’s less susceptible to the revivalist tag than anything else coming out of the Daptone studios. (Out tomorrow)

The Budos Band, ‘III’
ESSENTIAL “Rite of the Ancients’’