Big Mean Sound Machine‘s third album Contraband was released earlier this year and has slowly been gaining traction throughout the state. Hailing from Ithaca, NY, Big Mean Sound Machine has continuously broadened their sound with each new release. The opener “In the Name of What?” is a throwback to the Stax era sound of 70’s funk and soul. From the Shaft-esque guitar holding down the background of the song right to the horns that guide the track through its seven minute journey. From the get go, Contraband lets you know that you’re going to want to move your body while listening to the record.
The band hits its’ groove during “Woah Gosh” and “Junkies Everywhere”. “Woah Gosh” constantly builds as the horns and the Moog synthesizers play off one another to see who can lead the track to its eventual transition into the “Junkies Everywhere” that is steeped in Afrobeat and jazz. The drums and congas really get a chance to shine about halfway through the track as the Moog searchers around in the back keeping a beautiful tension and making the track sound dangerous. You get the feel of walking the streets in a city late at night as those who are up to no good are coming out of their homes searching for their next score.
The title track comes late in the album but is one that definitely could take off in the live setting. The quick guitar and bass riffs that drive the track forward will definitely get people moving and grooving on the floor. The band is at its tightest here of the whole album. The closer, “Wolfpack” brings the album to a delightful end with a song that could be in a Quentin Tarantino film scoring a scene perfectly. Contraband is great throwback album, yet Big Mean Sound Machine did a great job of updating that sound and making it their own. Be sure to catch them in New York this fall and head on over to their Bandcamp page to purchase the album.
Key Tracks: In the Name of What?, Wolfpack, Junkies Everywhere