Addison Groove Project leaves many things for the listener to figure out. For example, who is Addison, and what does he have to do with the group’s groove project? What does Allophone, the title of the band’s new album, really mean, and what the heck does it have to do with the music? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, where did these white guys learn how to groove so well?
Listen to Allophone, and the answers–even the ones to questions you hadn’t even asked–will come sprouting from the roots. You’re sure to find yourself in jam-funk heaven with this fourteen-track gem.
Go beyond the opening track’s silly space-age intro to find one unpredictable, protein-fed jam after another. “Carpal Tunnel,” whose title again has very little to do with what goes on in the music, is powered by a light and upbeat cool jazz in which Ben Groppe’s tenor saxophone vies for supremacy with Rob Marscher’s electric piano. What makes “Carpal Tunnel” unique is its earthy street beat, fortified by distinct yet unpredictable percussive rhythms and some of that old school scratchin’ of the vinyl. Sure, they may not be the first funk band to explore the creative possibilities of the turntable, but in “Carpal Tunnel,” they’ve used it in superior fashion and it really gets the album going.
The jams get heavier starting with “Turning Points,” which marks the album’s turning point from respectable to ‘off the hizzy.’ Brendan McGinn turns what could be simple lounge music into high energy, compact blues riffs; something entirely fresh and funky comes off his jam in “Turning Points.” Like a good blues poet, McGinn repeats and repeats and repeats, but with that slight variation which makes it new every time. He dances around the range of his instrument, moving up, down, around, within and through the creative possibilities afforded to him by the beat.
In “Face to Face,” AGP reminds us of their social conscience and, if they are to be at all successful, helps us rediscover our own. The lyrics, which speak for themselves, ask us to consider the homeless, something AGP has been doing for the entirety of their short careers. The band has ongoing food drive called the Addison Food Project, encouraging fans to bring canned goods to all AGP concerts. In flat, somber tones, McGinn sings: “There comes a time/ when we say/ its been too long we can’t stay/ in this world in this way/ what comes next can’t be like today/ Tell me where the homeless sleep, where do they sit down to eat?”
With passion and unparalleled improvisational achievement, Allophone proves AGP’s immeasurable talents and accounts for this band’s growing popularity in the Northeast. So go out and get Allophone and make sure to come out to Toad’s Place on Friday, April 26th, where these rising stars of the jam band scene will take the stage–and New Haven–by storm.
And don’t forget your canned goods.