JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound: Howl

jcJC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
(Bloodshot Records)

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The title track begins JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound’s new LP, Howl. It begins with a slow and slinky JC vocal into his sustained high note that brings in the big funk of Billy Bungeroth’s guitar and Kevin Marks’ snappy beat. “Married For a Week” follows with a sweeping synth, stuttering beat and JC’s desperate pleading. We also get solid, clean leading here from Bungeroth that sets the whole concoction on deep sly simmer. “Security” has a floating, echoey, U2-like sound to the guitars with JC’s falsetto bordering on childlike teasing at times. The layers in the chorus open the tune with subtle percussion from Jovia Armstrong and a consistent piano from Andy Rosenstein that makes this one of my favorites on an album of great songs. The oh-so-brief dropout leaving Ben Taylor’s bass almost all alone to the big pickup at the end fleshes the song out perfectly. “Not Alone” is a big-guitar, straight-ahead, blues rock number, with “yeah yeah” call-and-response vocals from JC, but truly this is the Uptown Sound’s tune. “River” is a big, torchy ballad, showing off JC’s Sam Cooke/Otis Redding qualities, some superb backing vocals from Tina M. Howell, but here Rosenstein steals the show with his expert ivory tinkling. “Control” is another thickly-layered piece of funk with a David Bowie (in his Station to Station period) vibe to it. There is so much to like in JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound’s Howl.

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