Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., Sept. 16, 2005
Yesterday (Manor Productions)
A waft of déjà vu hovers after spinning Mingo Fishtrap's new platter. Songs hit right from the get-go, like a friend of a friend you immediately dig after meeting. It's clear this funky Austin octet has a deep affinity for the title's alluded-to musical greats Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, Rejuvenation-era Meters. Yet this well-crafted album ain't about naked derivation: the 15 original tracks are as fresh as new car smell. The fourth release and second full-length of these Austin Music Award winners, Yesterday is a refinement of form and not a new stylistic direction. Wise choice, as their gumbo of tight 'n' punchy horns, deep rhythms, restless melodies, and emotive singing has garnered Mingo justified respect as a live powerhouse. Along with coast-to-coast tours, the booty-moving orchestra has shared stages with Parliament Funkadelic, Neville Brothers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Ozomatli. But a set list ain't the same as a track list. Slower numbers like "Not the Same" and "Superman" may be suitable palate cleansers live, but here they stall an otherwise funky joyride, even if the vocals are as smooth as a chilled glass of Hennessy. Yet by launching Yesterday into the future, Mingo Fishtrap offers up one full-on funk party.