Published on November 13th, 2012 | by greg0
Menahan Street Band: The Crossing:: Review
If the technology that brought “Smell-O-Vision” to movie theaters in the 1950′s could be harnessed to vinyl then The Crossing, the funky new album by Brooklyn’s Menahan Street Band, would conjure the combined scents of a freshly-lit stogie and brand new car leather preferably found in a 70′s emerald green Lincoln Continental. The Crossing is an inspired set of instrumental soul deeply indebted to the works of the Stax/Volt label and James Brown. In other hands, this retro act would sound amateurish but thankfully the Menahan Street Band is comprised of members of Budos Band, El Michels Affair, Antibalas and the Dap-Kings, musicians more than competent to take up the task.
The Crossing opens with the one-two of knock-out punch single “The Crossing” and follow up “Lights Out.” The horns and the plucked instrumentation of “The Crossing” come across as David Axelrod reincarnated while “Lights Out” adds a layer of mystery to the already pensive outing. Like a great spy novel, “Slight A Hand” offers a resolution to the burgeoning peccadillos apparently thrown out by the band in spades. “Everyday A Dream” loosens up the increasingly somber affair with its carefree organ leads and echoing horn vamps.
The Crossing dips its toe back into noir-ish territory on the chorus-laden “Seven Is The Wind,” although at this point in the record it would have been interesting had the band expanded upon the upbeat material evidenced by the previous track. “Bullet For The Bagman” bluely meanders and needs the strength of piano-led “Driftwood” to bring it out of the doldrums. The Crossing closes with a dash of frenetic wah-wah guitar as the music fades away into the blue-black night.