Thursday, May 21, 2009
Album review: New Vintage’s self-titled EP
The oft-buzzed about and aptly-named soul/funk/R&B outfit just released their self-titled first album, and I can't stop listening to it.
One pitfall of living in Denton is that you can easily become spoiled by the 24-hour reverberations coming from any given corner. I almost wonder if Dentonites are in danger of becoming slightly jaded to the fact that not every small town in the world is grossly populated by freakishly talented musicians and aficionados. The bar with which we judge the sounds our neighbors are making is fairly high, but this seems to serve as a sort of triple-dog-dare challenge for emerging acts. It's always quite refreshing when an airtight act like New Vintage emerges, knocking the wind out of all of us and reminding us that living here is an extraordinary musical experience.
The oft-buzzed about and aptly-named soul/funk/R&B outfit just released their self-titled first album, and I can't stop listening to it. As the title suggests, one is left with the impression that this band has perhaps been around longer than the members in it have been alive. This is a group with an old soul juxtaposed against a sweet and playful attitude that creates an entirely unique sound. New Vintage will blend seamlessly on your date night playlist alongside Hooverphonic, Snarky Puppy, and Marvin Gaye. The five songs have been running a seductive loop through my stereo since the CD Release show last week (the first time I heard them, as a matter of fact)… It is like listening to chocolate.
Melissa McMillan is nothing short of a goddess, she could easily hold her own among the ranks of Erykah Badu and Nina Simone with her sultry tones and ethereal confidence. When she walks into a room, you can feel the air catch as those of us who have witnessed her vocal prowess hope to God she will find her way to the microphone. I've been fortunate enough to see her perform with various acts around town; she has become a Greenhouse jazz night staple, and has lent her siren flair to Backside Pick and recently to the Prince Tribute band, Waters of Lake Minnetonka. If you see her tall and vivacious frame enter a club, brace yourself: you're probably going to melt. You may also (as this passage may suggest) develop a bit of a Lady Crush. My suggestion is to not fight it, just listen.
The rest of the band seems to understand the power she holds over a room, and they do not fall short in filling the room with a dangerously passionate backdrop to match and support such massive talent. Seriously, ladies, watch your skirts. This music is liable to cause your dress to inadvertently wander away. Jeff Randall's percussion paired with Cooper Appelt's bass lines casually move your body without your knowledge while Sylvester Onyejiaka and Dave Richards' brass mingles effortlessly in the corners of your mind most vulnerable to dreamlike intoxication. Meanwhile, Graham Richards tickles the keys in ways that make you feel like you've had just enough champagne to be a bit giggly and Kelyn Crapp's guitar riffs add a hearty dose of funk, just to keep you on your toes. This band has got their act together, and it shows in the grateful faces that pack the clubs they play. As if we needed any more heat in Texas, this summer's New Vintage shows are certain to get us all into a bit of mischief.
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