Denver-based jam outfit The Magic Beans recently released their second full length LP this past March—also the second studio effort featuring Chris Duffy on bass—focusing in on a new sound the band calls Neo-Jam (a merging of the Neosoul and Jam genres), while also staying true to their Space-Funk roots. The group is comprised of Scott Hachey (guitars/vocals), Chris Duffy (bass/vocals), Casey Russell (keys/vocals), and Cody Wales (drums). The album provides studio versions of songs that have been in the band’s live rotation for some time now, and allowed them to expand the sound of the songs with the help of saxophonist Clark Smith, trumpeter Matthew Wilkolak, and percussionist Will Trask.
The whole of Casino Cabaret is very groove-driven, with Chris Duffy and Cody Wales working together in a powerful rhythm section. Duffy’s tasteful bass playing is showcased all across this record, especially on tracks such as the title track itself, “Casino Cabaret.” The song has a very spy thriller-y sound to it, and heavily features Scott Hachey and Casey Russell’s ability to work as a duo when laying down the melody.
“Mr. Scientist” is another choice selection from the album, featuring more of that classic “space-funk” sound fans are familiar with. Some of Russell’s intriguing synth tones are shown off in an impressive solo about halfway through the song, as well as the main melody throughout the track. This song also features Duffy’s extremely impressive slap-bass skills, and some of Hachey’s super tasteful lead playing.
Another of the standout tracks on the album is “Hanky Panky,” which as Hachey put it during a live show, “…is a song about sex!” There’s no actual explicit lyrics besides the band yelling “Hanky Panky!” during the chorus section of the song. The song has a very fun, upbeat sound, and really showcases keyboardist Casey Russell’s skills on the Hammond Organ, as well as the band’s ability to groove along as a unit of funk soldiers. Casino Cabaret is an impressive studio release from The Magic Beans that features a wide variety of great, soulful music. Catch some of these songs live during their upcoming sets at Domefest in Bedford, PA and pick up the album on their Bandcamp.
Key Tracks: Mr. Scientist, Inventor, Casino Cabaret, Hanky Panky