I’ve never been to a desert so perhaps it is not my place to say, but I think that the Budos Band make perfect desert music. That’s not to say that their music is lifeless, just that they bring to mind perfectly the baking sun above and the soft sands below. I can almost see the heat haze in the distance when I listen to this album. That being said, this is not walking music. This has to be blasted out of the car windows as you pass the speed limit. If you’re feeling tired, let the music drive, it’s more than capable of moving along by itself.
The Budos Band consists of your standard instrumental band structure with a lot of more unconventional instruments added on and no vocalist. There is a guitar player, a bassist, and a drummer. Additionally, there are two saxophonists, two trumpeters, a part time flutist, an electric organ and even more percussionists who utilise bongos, cowbells and a solitary shekere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekere). That’s eleven men in all as two instruments are sometimes played by one man. And for the most part, every one of those instruments is heard. The horns are the real stars of the show here as they are given the most airtime with seductive rhythm sections and then moving into an often technical and always enjoyable solo.
To put it simply, there is a creative genius at work here. Whether it is one man writing all the songs or the whole band contributing equally does not change the fact that these are fantastic compositions. While the songs often repeat ideas and lines several times, the sheer quality of those sections never lets them sink into monotony. The timing on all counts is wonderful. Not once is any instrument ever out of time, no matter the complexity of what they are playing. The transitions from rhythm sections to solos are seamless as everything falls back and lets the player do their thing. As said before, the brass section carries the most weight followed closely by the organ. None of the other instruments ever get to shine as much as would be desirable, especially the bass as it is obviously capable of laying down a solo.
Despite the variety to be found on the album, the song structures are all very similar. They usually start with either the bass, drums or both laying the foundation then the horns enter and play several repetitions of one line then hit the solo and then move back into the repetitions. Don’t let that fool you however, it barely ever gets boring. The general creativity and instrumental variety always keeps it entertaining. The pacing is also done very well. Take for example, the slow but danceable beats of His Girl
. That’s the kind of song that can make you want to get up and dance as the saxophones jump around from tone to tone in an alluring manner. Following on immediately, Origin Of Man
will make you want to sit straight back down again as you recall the heat of the desert from the almost tiring slower music.
Of course, the similar structures may lead to boredom on some parts, but that should only happen after listening to the album more than a couple of times in a row. The album is also below average in length, with the whole thing adding up to 37 minutes. However, that’s not really a problem considering the pace of most of the songs on offer here. If it was any longer, it definitely would drag along towards the end. It would also have been nice to hear a solo that is not from the horns or the keyboard, but that is a minor flaw.
If there’s one word to describe the Budos Band, that word would be refreshing. No similar artist comes to mind when talking about them. To me at least, they are unique. They have come a long way from the humble beginnings of their first album which pales in comparison to this album. It’s just the way that everything comes together so perfectly and forms a neat package with very little technical error. In short, this is a fantastic album that almost everyone can and should enjoy. This is definitely one of the best albums to come out of 2007.