Baker Brothers ‘Hear No Evil’ (Fish Legs) 3/5

baker-brothersBritish band the Baker Brothers have soaked up the influences of blue-eyed soul from the 1970s (Average White Band, Boz Scaggs), old-school jazz funk à la Tower of Power, the rhythm guitar of Chic (and latterly the influence also of Daft Punk) and have attempted to create their own sound. If they do not always succeed, then they have still managed to come up with an entertaining album with the emphasis firmly on the groove. This is an album that improves as the tracks unfold and the strongest numbers are to be found towards the end of the album such as the Omar-esque vocals on ‘Love’s atonement’ with an earthy bassline and a pared down feel, or on the mid-tempo and funk-tinged ‘Breathe Fire’ that features a catchy guitar riff and lovely horns throughout. A moody cut in ‘Hill Climb’ impresses with unison brass and guitar riff and the keyboards have a 1980s jazz-funk feel. Best of all is the instrumental ‘Dancing with my mates ’till dawn’ which manages to lay down a soulful beat while focusing on the catchiest of rhythm sections and this is an aspect of the Baker Brothers overall sound that they would do well to develop further and enhance in live performance. There still needs to be some work on improving the quality and force of the vocals to match the instrumentation which is generally excellent, but with time a distinctive group sound will finally emerge.

Tim Stenhouse