Free Nationals: Free Nationals review – soulful vibes abound

(Empire/OBE)
The slinky, funky debut album by Anderson .Paak’s live band evokes gas-guzzling 70s cars with shag pile carpets

The debut album by Anderson .Paak’s live band sounds like what it is: an album by his crack musicians made (mostly) without the singer-rapper. As with many of the grooves the LA quartet lay down, Kelsey Gonzalez (bass), Ron “Tnava” Avant (keyboard/vocoder), Callum Connor (drums) and José Rios (guitar) pay conscious homage to the giants of funk and soul – most notably Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield. The slinky harmonies are reminiscent of the Stylistics. There are funky drum beats, sci-fi synth noises, fat basslines and soulful melodies that all evoke gas-guzzling 70s cars with shag-pile carpets.

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Author: Dave Simpson