>groovy/soulful post punk, R&B
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Electric Ball is the third album from New York based ‘nervous soul’ and post punk group Ava Luna. It is one of the most refreshing and groovy and catchy things I’ve heard from this year.
The band describe themselves as Stax meets Kraftwerk, a sound I can sort of understand, but probably would’ve been better saying an early 60s soul band got Talking Heads album ‘77 shown to them, and were told “Here, play this”.
This is a rare album in which every track delivers something new and fresh, and where concepts aren’t simply doubled up a bunch of times to fill the required number of songs to fill an LP. There’s a great bunch of groovy post punk songs, a bunch of soulful R&B tracks, and all of them are of a very high quality and insanely catchy.
'Daydream' opens the album, and if you can manage to get the picture of Talking Heads out of your mind while listening, you have either never listened to Talking Heads or are a much stronger willed person than I am. It can only be described as the most David Byrne like singing I've ever heard over the most David Byrne like guitar lines I've ever heard. While this song really makes them sound sort of like the post punk version of Temples (a very good band that is note for note derivative), the rest of the album is varied and fun enough to make you see them as more than ripoffs.
‘Sears Roebuck M&Ms' is the second track, and it's so groovy that if you listen to it and aren't at least tapping your foot, you probably don't have a heart. Totally reminds me of a sort of cheeky trip hop/soul track that Yoko Kanno did for Cowboy Bebop, 'Chicken Bone’. It’s hardly a musical masterpiece, but it’s so fucking catchy and fun to listen to.
Moving more to the R&B sound, the tracks ‘Prpl’ and ‘Hold U’ are great examples of the softer side of the bank away from the funky goodness (also good examples of lame song titles). Prpl is a pretty straight forward R&B song with simple, beautiful vocals. Hold U follows it and features male vocals, and is half R&B and half ominous sounding rock, you expect something explosive to happen at any moment.
One of the best albums of the year. It’s varied, fun, loud, quiet, easy to listen to, and just a huge breath of fresh air. The post punk and soul/r&b elements meet noisey rises, great pop melodies, and great vocals. You should listen to this.