Record review

Texas Platters


Unloaded (Bean Pie)

It has many meanings: To release power. Being clear-headed. Sexual innuendo. Unloaded is a fitting tag for Gnappy's third, following their acclaimed 2001 debut and 2003's sophomore-slump slayer, Is This a Machine? The Austin act's tight-fisted instrumental grooves – self-described as "funk with jazz and hip-hop" – pop like fireworks. Unloaded's sober inference comes from its clean delivery and sparkling sound, even though the drums-bass-sax-guitar quartet covers Black Sabbath and Quincy Jones' "The Streetbeater" (the Sanford and Son theme) live. Yet, Unloaded is all original, save for a fluid, drop-funk take on Sonny Rollins standard "Oleo." The staccato guitar-horn melodies in "Grease Don't Freeze" are as tight as a drill sergeant's bed, and the bass-drum funk engine in "Sushi Pimp" is hot enough to smell. Lessening the gestalt are "Bahl Hornin'" and the title track, each of which show up twice. The second take of "Bahl Hornin'" scratches and raps but fizzles at the end, longing for its own song structure. A talk-rap populates the first version of the title track, then appears later as an instrumental. Both worthy, but one's enough. Then again, most bands should be so lucky to have such an embarrassment of riches to unload.


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