Wow, this is one fantastic slab of neo-retro soul/funk - and it really should be no surprise considering it comes from members of the same Brooklyn crews that've been so en fuego of late. Led by multi-instrumentalist Thomas Brenneck, Menahan features musicians from Daptone's Budos Band and Sharon Jones backers the Dap-Kings, as well as Leon Michels of El Michels Affair... yet Make The Road By Walking posesses its own style and soul that doesn't quite fall in line with any of those groups. You know the opening title track from Jay-Z's "Roc Boys" (Mr. Carter tagged it "black super hero music"), and you'll recognize the Bill Conti-penned closer "Going The Distance" as soon as those horns blare, but sandwiched in between are eight great instrumental cuts that never stagnate or overstay their welcome. (The album zips by, with almost no tracks clocking in at over 3 1/2 minutes.) Brenneck says that practicing in his Bushwick bedroom has made the group the unofficial house band of his street, and you can feel why on tunes like "Home Again!" and the prickly "The Traitor." (On the other side of that, the swaying 'Karina" and shuffling "Birds" may take one elsewhere.) Simply put, MSB brims with the kind of soul we could all use more of nowadays. And: watch out for the hidden track. 11 tracks; 36 minutes. Recommended.
- music label: Dunham / Daptone 2008