The New Mastersounds, a band absolutely essential to the sound of modern day British funk, add another element to their trade mark grooves, vocals. Eddie Roberts and Simon Alen both sing and they manage to pull it off quite nicely. Their added vocals give the songs an airy, 60's rock sound. You can't help but imagine yourself in a dim lit room with strobe lights, lava lamps and silhouettes of people looking hip and chat dancing in the back ground. It's a refreshing addition from these master musicians and if you're a fan of any early psychedelic rock you'll feel right at home.
Do they sound better with vocals? Well, all I can say is that "Breaks from the Border" is a great album and I absolutely love it for what it is. I also really love their instrumental stuff. And if you're a fan of their music all the necessary ingredients are still there. It all comes together naturally and I can most certainly say that I welcome the new direction.
"Breaks from the Border" is a remarkable achievement by the New Mastersounds, whom I consider to be one the most important bands of their era. They have a unique and very distinctive sound. The album just grooves and presents an image of back when British rock music was truly experimental and exciting. And it's not like they've completely abandoned their instrumentals. There's "Run the Gauntlet", the ultra cool "Freckles" and "Josus". This is easily one of my top ten favorite albums of 2011 and if you're still weary of the vocals after your first listen, listen to it again. It will eventually grow on you because the music is still what you've always come to expect from England's purveyors of funk. The New Mastersounds is a band that has become an important medium for defining and coalescing the new jazz-funk aficionado's aesthetic, and with a style that has emerged from vintage R&B, funk and jazz called British soul music. "Breaks from the Border" is the bands seventh studio album and it is their first to be recorded in the US.
- Simon Eddie