Album Review

Throwback Horn-fed Rock ‘n’ Soul

Major and the Monbacks - Major and the Monbacks

It’s not surprising to find that this Norfolk, Virginia band has gigged for years before committing themselves to a first full-length album. Their passionate, throwback rock ‘n’ soul has clearly been honed for the stage and dance floor, and their combination of pop melodies, organ and horns brings to mind the Southern sounds of early Stax, but also the Northern rock ‘n’ soul of  the Buckinghams, Rascals, Grass Roots, Southside Johnny, Tower of Power and Chicago. There’s a helping of the Band in “Somedays” and “Sunshine,” and the group’s instrumental flights suggest the jazz-funk bumper music of the Saturday Night Live band.

The opening “I Can Hardly Wait” offers the warmth of War’s “Summer,” but with a thicker chart that suggests Muscle Shoals. The band adds Little Feat styled strut to “Annabelle,” and the beseeching testimony of “Don’t Say a Word” recalls Peter Wolf’s more emotional moments. “Be My Baby” nods in Phil Spector’s direction, but is more ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll than ‘60s production pop, while “Magnolia” tips its melodic hat to Buddy Holly’s “Raining in My Heart,” and “She Don’t Knock” offers up blue-eyed soul. These talented players resurrect the festive spark of horn-lined rock ‘n’ soul with irresistible grooves that cut just as deep as those from which they draw inspiration. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

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