Wild Card: Organic Riot

Bruce Lindsay By

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Music can signal rebellion, initiate change, influence the thoughts of an entire generation. Or it can cause thousands of disparate individuals to get up and dance and generally have a good time. Organic Riot, the third album from London-based funksters Wild Card, may not signal incipient revolution but it's certainly got the good-time, get up and dance bit sorted.

Guitarist and composer Clement Regert leads Wild Card: drummer Sophie Alloway and Hammond organist Andrew Noble complete the core line-up. The lack of a bass guitarist means there's an absence of lower-end punch, despite Noble's best efforts, but Régert's rhythm playing and Alloway's drumming (plus added percussion from João Caetano or Lili Ioncheva) ensure that this isn't a major issue.

The guest performers add even more zing to the already swinging Wild Card sound. Rapper B'loon, from France, delivers the words with an infectious enthusiasm and a feel for the rhythm of the music—the breathless introduction to the band on "Intro" builds up the anticipation, while equally excited rapping on "Tchoucks" (co-written by Regert and B'loon) gives an urgent energy to a tune that starts out like a Mike Post TV theme. Horn players Graeme Flowers and Roberto Manzin are ever-present, joined by trombonist Jerome Harper on five numbers—Harper adds a raw energy to tunes such as "Tchoucks."

"Shake It Up!" deserves the exclamation mark—this is as upbeat a groover as anyone could wish for. Régert's guitar work is fluid and stylish, Alloway drives the beat to engender a real sense of excitement. "Passion, Grace & Nutella" is a candidate for Song Title Of The Year and may well be Régert's list of the ideal attributes of a lover (although too much of one might impact extremely negatively on the other two). Musically, it's a cheerful, Latin influenced, dancefloor filler—a member of a group that includes Andy Narell's "Oz" and Régert's "Wild Card Theme."

Wild Card has a more thoughtful and romantic side too. "Heartbeat" is a sultry mid-tempo tune, Régert's acoustic guitar creating a gentle vibe that's echoed by Flowers and Noble. "The Flood" opens as a relaxed ballad that center's on Noble's soulful Hammond then gradually cranks up the energy courtesy of Manzin's tenor solo.

Singer Natalie Williams is particularly effective—sadly, she only appears on two songs. On Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's "Feeling Good" she communicates her positivity unequivocally—yes, we know how she feels, no question. On her own "Wash Him Out" she combines blues power with emotional impact as she sings of ending a relationship, the tune given added power by all three horn players.

Organic Riot is the sound of a band having fun, a sound that exhorts the still-seated grouches of the world to get up and get that booty shaking. To (mis)-quote George Clinton , Wild Card gets on down, just for the funk of it. That's a great gift to give to the world.

Track Listing: Intro; Wild Card Theme; Feeling Good; Organic Riot; Do U Wanna Know?; Shake It Up!; Tchoucks; Heartbeat; A Day Like No Other; Wash Him Out; The Flood; Passion, Grace And Nutella; Oz; Manic Phase.

Personnel: Clément Régert: guitars; Andrew Noble: Hammond Organ; Sophie Alloway: drums; Graham Flowers: trumpet, flugelhorn; Roberto Manzin: tenor saxophone; Natalie Williams: vocals (3, 10); B'loon: rap (1, 4, 7); Jerome Harper: trombone (1, 3, 4, 7); Lili Ioncheva: percussion (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10); João Caetano: percussion (2, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14).

Title: Organic Riot | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Top End Records

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