The British are coming, the British are coming! No, not the Redcoats with rifles or tide-shifting rock royalty like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the like. This time, it's the might and music of the English songstress that's landing stateside.
With Leading The British Invasion
, this smart and stinging organ trio salutes a number of notable ladies from across the pond. Fifty years worth of history is covered here, as everybody from Dusty Springfield to Adele is given their due. In tackling radio staples of the distant past and yesteryear, guitarist John Hart, organist Adam Scone
, and drummer Rudy Albin Petschauer rework and retrofit familiar melodies and structures, allowing the music's pop, soul, rock, and R&B beginnings to show while adding a coat or two of their own colorful ideas to the proceedings. There's enough of the familiar to keep these songs moored to their origins and there's sufficient arrangement and development to separate them into a category removed from their birthplace(s).
Tributes to Amy Winehouse
bookend the album, putting the spotlight on a talent taken too soon. First, "Rehab" rolls in at a faster clip than expected, riding over a street beat before shifting toward swing; then, a "Body And Soul" playing to tradition and nodding toward Winehouse's duet take on the song with Tony Bennett
arrives in the penultimate position and points the way toward a swinging and grooving goodbye in the form of "Back To Black."
The eight tracks that sit between those performances are pure fun. Joss Stone
's "Don't Start Lyin' To Me Now" simmers over a plain-faced rock feel, Sade
's "Smooth Operator" is stripped of its smooth surfaces and given a semi-shuffling framework, a pair of Adele songsa waltz take on "Turning Tables" and a raunchy and psychedelic "Rolling In The Deep"salute the most current star on the roster, and a gently swinging stroll through the Dusty Springfield-associated "I Only Want To Be With You" looks back more than half a century. There's something positive to take from each of those numbers and several not cited, but the best of the bunch by far is the trio's expansive take on Lorde's "Royals," artfully moving from tight and textured lands to an aggressive space before settling into a jam band zone.
This album doesn't reinvent the wheel, the organ trio, or the female-influence on the British pop landscape, but it does provide an infusion of joy that uses catchy fare associated with some of music's leading ladies as a chief ingredient. Same great organ trio sounds, different angle on material. That's Leading The British Invasion
in a nutshell.