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Short and Root - The Soulfood Sessions

2006-11-14 16:25
Rootsy and relaxed with a touch of doobie, this CD is much more on the atmospheric side than striking. Brilliantly pleasant if you like; dappled and dreamy. But you might find yourself stuck in it. Because it's a dream that just keeps repeating.

"Take me back" is a special track. Its "Do you remember?" enquiry rings harmonically of old psychadelia, like Traffic. Its Gomez-flavoured vocals comfort the ears, while South Africans will instantly recognise Short & Root as homegrown.

Because their discernable influences but all good ones, and Short & Root's combination of minor-key rock, acid-flavoured funk and electronic suss are mainly on the right side of the line.

"Bloodflow" seduces with obsessive, clever lyrics, "Don't Know You Anymore" is far from original but it ticks along nicely, raising the by-now familiar theme of nostalgia for lost youth and innocence.

But what Short & Root make up for in atmosphere and sonic yumminess, they lack in variety. The songs are repetitive, and often drawn out for the sake of the pleasure only of playing the song. The constant "woo woos" and "No no nos" don't make up for the lyrics that should be there. Solos seem directionless when they go on too long. The intros could be more concise. Less is more, guys. Less is more, but not because you say it over and over again, losing what are really great songs in a quagmire of elaboration.

What makes all this album all the more frustrating are those bits of perfection - the too-promising first 30 seconds of "Funkus", or the odd, really evocative lyric.

So lounge back and let The Soulfood Sessions play, but don't go concentrating too hard. Short & Root have a sprawling, but promising sound, songs with attractive hooks and some thoughtful lyrics that seem flavoured by the sea and the sun. But this CD sounds more like live recording by two talented musicians than a well-honed studio job worth buying.

One of the most infuriatingly nearly-there local releases of this year.

- Jean Barker
There's plenty of talent here, and the music is resonant with good taste and blue but beautiful vibes. But these boys need to stop jamming, and play the songs.


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