The Excitements ‘Sometimes too much ain’t enough’ (Penniman) 4/5

The_ExcitementsBarcelona-based band the Excitements specialise in the old-school gritty R & B with a nod to 60s funk flavours in the brass section. They are greatly aided by the vocals of Koko-Jean Davis whose influences are situated in soul-blues territory and probably include Etta James and Sugar Pie De Santo.This latest album will be of interest to anyone who likes the early Stax and Chess soul 45s. In fact the influence of Booker T and the MGs is all over the stomping ‘That’s what you got’ which is an all instrumental piece with riff-laden guitar dominating. There are shades of early Tina Turner on ‘Keep your hands off’ and of Ray Charles on the uplifting gospel-blues number ‘I believe you’ which in its instrumentation is reminiscent of ‘I got a woman’. However, there is also variety to the Excitements repertoire and this is illustrated on the beat ballad ‘I’ve bet and I’ve lost again’. A single off the album, ‘Ha, Ha, Ha’ has already surfaced and poses the dilemma of a woman refusing stereotypical roles and has some lovely blues piano licks weaved in. The band can be heard in full swing on the uptempo Billy Preston original ‘Keep it to yourself’. With a rustic feel to the production chores, the Excitements are a band that revel in retro soul and should make for compulsive viewing in a live context. Tim Stenhouse