On Don’t Talk, Dance!, Chris Standring delivers a collection of irresistibly funky, compositionally sophisticated tunes that, yes, work well as dance music but also hold up under a close listen. The British-born guitarist draws from a wide range of genres, including jazz, funk, blues, pop, R&B, club and electronica. He layers instruments and patterns, varies tempos and adds electronic effects, vocal accents and spoken-word snippets to create intricate, highly textured tracks built atop funk grooves.
We dare you to sit still during the percussive “Sky High,” an electro-dance number driven by a mesmerizing groove and featuring atmospheric keyboards from Standring’s longtime collaborator Rodney Lee. Or the horn-accented “Inside Outside,” with a funky guitar melody that will linger in your mind long after the cut is over. Standring’s talkbox gets a star turn during the laidback “Sneakin’ Out the Front Door,” and “Scatterfunk” opens with a ’70s-style funk groove that gives way to a slower, string-enhanced jam.
Standring departs from the album’s dance vibe for “Nothing Lasts Forever.” A poignant ballad spotlighting Standring on acoustic guitar, it closes this high-energy, elaborately produced album simply and eloquently.