The Bamboos – Medicine Man
June 4, 2012
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Just to prove that we don’t just listen to and talk about alternative rock, our album of the week comes from Melbourne funk icons, The Bamboos. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve hardly listened to The Bamboos until this album. I’d like to try to give a decent reason for this, but unfortunately I can’t think of one. I just hope they can forgive me, and I will do whatever I can to make it up to them. I’ve already spruiked this album to a few friends, and it’s only been out a few days.
Since forming in 2000, Medicine Man is the groups most accessible album. Having called in a few favours from a number of local and international acts, the group offer a variety of jams that strongly contrast with my study-induced depression. Basically, if it wasn’t for the grooves Medicine Man has to offer, I don’t know where I’d be right now.
Medicine Man is the group’s most accessible album. Lead single I Got Burned has been doing the rounds on most underground Melbourne radio channels, no doubt helped but the sultry vocals of Australian icon Tom Rogers, whose soft falsetto compliments the brass and strings perfectly. Although it is not the dance track like many others on the album, the rhythmic hit of the snare second-half guitar solo makes it a highlight of the album.
When you consider the global soul-funk scene, Aloe Blacc is one of the rising stars and he features on Where Does The Time Go? His irrepressible charm drags the track back to a simpler time when soul was in its prime. Likewise, Melbourne girl Megan Washington features on two tracks. The first is one of the more livelier tracks on the album, Eliza. A contrast to the vocals of Rogers and Blacc, Eliza could easily come from a Washington album, maybe with a bit more focus on instrumentation. The second track is a cover of James Blake’s hit of 2011 The Wilhelm Scream. A difficult song to reinterpret, The Bamboos do so sufficiently, but Washington leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a few more cameo appearances from Dan Merriweather on I Never and Bobby Flynn on Midnight, with the latter being one of my favourite tracks on the album.
By featuring an array of Melbourne and international stars, The Bamboos seem to have taken a short-cut to appeal to the masses, but there has been minimal changes to their sound. Whether it is comparable to earlier albums is questionable, but you won’t be unhappy listening to this album.