NATURAL AFRODISIAC THE ONE IS THE THREE
Great things come from Stanton, including funk/Latin/jazz/soul/R&B collective Natural Afrodisiac. After a couple of EPs, we wondered what they'd do with the freedom of a full-length. And now we know: nearly an hour's worth of hot, deliciously danceable jam music by eight guys who could be the spiritual offspring of War, the band that perfected multi-culti aural gumbo. A lot of these songs feel free and fresh—perfect ear candy for breezy, late-summer city park barbecues, let's say—and all are grounded by Jamie Allensworth's emotive, classic soul man's pained howl. When Allensworth starts singing about heartache—even metaphorically, like "the cars that won't get in gear" (or more bluntly, like the moment when he screeches "MY WOMAN, I KNOW YOU DON'T LOVE ME!")—you hurt as badly as he does, because you know exactly how the man feels. You've been to that place before, if you aren't there right now. The high point on these 10 tunes is "Tired Eyes," propelled by a terrific, horn-heavy groove the band might stretch out for a glorious eternity, which they just have to do when they play it live. (On disc, the track comes to an abrupt funkus interuptus somewhere around the six-minute mark, which just wasn't a very cool thing to do.) But we also love "Intimidation," a sonic brushfire spread by conga-slapping hands and bleating brass. And we can't forget the hidden track, a lovely take on Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," guided by a sweet bass groove, not-cheesy handclaps and tender doo-wop harmonies. That alone oughta earn the Natural Afros Stanton's keys to the city.
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Natural Afrodisiac perform at Kozmos, 17208 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (562) 592-2200. Sat., 8 p.m. $10. 21+; and at the Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600. Thurs., Sept. 18, 9 p.m. $5. 21+.