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July/August 2002

Down to the Bone
Crazy Vibes and Things
GRP

With an intense energy and giddy rhythmic complexity, the U.K. quintet Down to the Bone shows the right way to craft urban groove music. On Crazy Vibes and Things (GRP) the group spins dancing, electric-charged pieces that are fully integrated melodic works rather than slapped together hybrids that happen to have an urban rhythm element. For example, the rattling house-music groove of "On a Roll" propels funky flute and guitar through accomplished melodic twists and dynamics. Likewise "Glow" wraps its lumbering rhythmic layers in a simple piano motif for a cool, '70s spy-movielike atmosphere. Carefully crafted arrangements polish and shade the whole CD: keyboardist Neil Angilley's dark-toned chording and ragged-edged solo energizes "Music Is My Drug," and a smashing, big-horn sound courtesy of saxophonist Paul Weimar pushes the sly, retro-keyboard buzz of "Electra Glide." Likewise Angilley's joyful piano line drives a sparkling nightlife feel on "Cooking With Gas." In the hands of producer/writer Stuart Wade, Down to the Bone offers a thinking person's party music that is as technically accomplished as it is fun.

Originally published in July/August 2002
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