Hambone Relay – Say Hi To Earl

Say Hi To Earl album Art

Philly based jazz/funk outfit “Hambone Relay” is one of those bands that seems to radiate professionalism and musiciansmanship from the moment you hear them. You just can’t get away with playing this kind of music without seasoned musicians and technical proficiency. In their new album Say Hi To Earl, the trio demonstrate that they have the style, the chops, and the know how required to create top notch jams. The organic opening track, Dustbowl Circus, has a crisp and gritty analog quality to it and reminded me of indie bands from the early 90s funk scene (although minus the ska and hip hop elements which were prevalent at that time.)

The band plays tight together which works well with the minimalist style. The guitar and organ playing on this album are absolutely killer, which is vital because there’s no place to bury anything in this mix. There are of course zillions of great guitar players out there, but what elevates the work on this album is that it’s combined with really authentic vintage tones. Guitarists experiment with vacuum tubes and boutique amps for decades looking to achieve the kind of tone which manifests throughout this entire album. The same can be said for the organ, which oscillates between a classic Hammond and Farfisa-like sound. As for veteran organist Mark Brown, well he can can really play.

Songs like The Low Down and New Soul Tune II have more of smooth and mellow vibe. Here Come the Fuzz features some groovy retro-futurist synths, straight out of Buck Rogers. It’s probably my favorite song on the album. Every track on here though is solid though. It’s just a question of your particular flavor or mood. Say Hi To Earl is slated for release on May 3. It’s not out yet, but you can pre-order it from the band’s website, and I recommend you go ahead and do that because it’s worth it.

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