Review #167: Snarky Puppy – Family Dinner Volume Two

Artist – Snarky Puppy
Album – Family Dinner Volume Two (2016)

Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/0fVJrgPNNPXt9bRYwnWadD

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Snarky Puppy are an instrumental fusion band from New York, USA. The group was formed by Grammy winning bassist Michael League and contains 40 musicians who come and go depending on their schedules, some members performing with artists as diverse as Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake and Marcus Miller. Snarky Puppy’s sound is based around the typical band set up (bass, guitars, drums, vocals), but also includes a range of woodwind, percussion, strings, keys etc. Due to their passion for music and education the band whilst touring hold numerous seminars, workshops and clinics, imparting their experience and expertise to their fans. Here is Snarky Puppy’s latest release ‘Family Dinner Volume Two’.

‘Family Dinner Volume Two’ is a collective of the incredibly talented Snarky Puppy, mixed with a large diverse array of guest performers, experimenting within the key genre of each guest. The album begins with the folk influenced track ‘I Asked’ which includes guest vocals by Becca Stevens, a song which starts with some fantastic melodies and harmonies between the strings/brass and moves on to an unexpectedly (for folk) rhythmic style, with a great performance by Stevens. The album then moves on to a few latin/cuban influenced songs in the form of ‘Molino Molero’ and ‘Soro’, tracks heavily focused on percussion and groove, to evoke a cheerful uplifting feeling in the listener, a little something to dance to. After this we move to the soul/RnB/alternative collaboration of a track that is ‘Sing To The Moon’, a powerfully emotional song which homes in on the synth/keyboard side of Snarky Puppy with some fantastic organ solos and a stand out vocal performance by guest Laura Mvula. ‘Family Dinner Volume Two’ still includes the expected from Snarky Puppy, complex rhythms, odd time signatures, technical/precise solos and thought provoking arrangements, but puts that into this diverse range of genres, still with the jazz-fusion style. If I were to recommend a couple tracks they would be the intro ‘I Asked’ and Laura Mvula’s ‘Sing To The Moon’.

Currently ‘Family Dinner Volume Two’ is one of, if not my favourite album out so far this year. It manages to integrate these musically complex performances in genuinely catchy and fun songs, which a lot of technical players can not do.

9/10

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