THE SPAM ALLSTARS : : CONTRA LOS ROBOTICOS

Where did this fresh sound come from? Well, the short answer is Miami, but The Spam Allstars actually bring the sounds of Brazilian, Haitian, African, and Cuban instrumentation and culture into an incredible mélange of grooves. DJ Spam (Andrew Yeomanson) has grown his sound and his band over recent years through numerous club gigs around South Florida and New York City. Interestingly, the Allstars have been showing up repeatedly alongside Page McConnell and Vida Blue, at live shows, on a CD release entitled The Illustrated Band, and recently at 2004's Bonnaroo festival in front of 10,000 new fans.

The title and CD artwork imply a cartoonish battle against mutant robots, a concept keeping in the tradition of DJs facing off against whimsical musical protagonists. But make no doubt about it: the funky, infectious grooves these folks lay down are definitely for real. An album of instrumentals with a smattering of Spanish spoken word interludes, Contra Los Roboticos Mutantes gets better with each listen. The layered grooves feature a full compliment of horns, flute, drums, bass, and a DJ that fills samples in any rhythmic space that needs it. The music pulls from some of the best grooves of '70s funk and modern hip-hop, and is flavored with Afro-Cuban conga and Afrobeat flourishes.

Having a DJ be the leader of the band means that the beat comes first. The multitude of rhythms packed into each track get your butt moving but it's the integral flute, keyboard, and horn melodies that take the listener on a convertible Camaro ride down A1A during another sunny day in paradise. With top notch jamming throughout, this is a disc where every song is solid. Toss it in your CD changer before a party and you won't be disappointed.

Haig Assadourian
JamBase | U.S.A.
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[Published on: 6/29/04]

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