Boohgaloo Zoo - Boohgaloo Zoo - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Boohgaloo Zoo - Boohgaloo Zoo

Boohgaloo Zoo's self-titled debut long-player draws on funk, jazz, soulful house and hip hop influences, taking an old school sound and giving it a modern makeover. A classy, well-produced album of considerable depth and subtlety and songwriting maturity, it sounds great on first listen, and, like the best funk, gets under the skin.

As a commercial proposition, the album is held back by the constraints of the jazz-funk style, which is quite a niche market. The house and hip hop influences don't go far enough to differentiate it from its peers, and its derivative sound means that the album may not get the attention it deserves. The vocals fit stylistically with the music, but at times seem lacking in conviction. The acid jazz-style instrumentation, including Hammond organ, Rhodes, brass, funk guitar and squelching synthesizers, should appeal to the mature listeners, but might alienate the younger end of the market, who may be less impressed by the laid-back style.

The album opens with an atmospheric instrumental, a groovy bass that sets the tone. The second track, 'Found It' features some Blackalicious-style hip hop lyrical flow and heavily processed guitar, over a funk beat. 'Testify' with its high-pitched vocal refrain, over a slippery bass hook, is an excellent track also available as a 12 inch. Both 'Testify' and the next track 'I Got' show an affinity for Prince's vocal and percussion stylings. 'Watch It' has a filthy slug-like groove, over a fabulous kick drum, a catchy "ain't gonna settle for less" vocal and some unusual sounds. 'Come to This', with cool finger clicks and vibraphone, features tasteful soloing and filtered synthesizer. 'No Joke' has a jazzy rhythm, an old school sound and hip hop vocals. 'Dead Wood' has a clever 'panting' beat, a tight bass groove, growls on guitar, and funky organ. 'Tonight', with cowbell, and a breathy organ groove, has a great pitch shifted vocal.

Boohgaloo Zoo is an accomplished effort with long-term appeal, which seems to offer plenty of crossover potential. Impressive from start to finish, it is something of a genre piece in its current form, although dance remixes would surely help to foreground the hooks and to increase the variation in dynamics.

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