St. Pete's worldbeat ensemble hits hard and does the Bay area proud with their fresh self-titled third LP, impeccably produced by Easy Star Records’ Michael Goldwasser — who’s worked with the likes of Steel Pulse and Toots & the Maytals — and presented at an official release party this Saturday.
The Hip Abduction continues to build upon the West African styles first introduced in 2011’s One Less Sound, the plucked phrasing of kora adding distinctive melodic brightness and fine exotic texture to the septet’s lush instrumentals. They’ve also amped up the ’70s funkadelic factor, all while touching on dub, jazz, roots reggae, rock and even light country-western and Latin aesthetics ala “Why Say One” and “Elena.” Standouts include “Holiday,” a buoyant dose of melodic sunshine with a heart-warming refrain (“Where ya going they say, on the holiday? / Watching bellies of the planes, as they fly away / No coins of gold, no money in the bank, as long as I dream, I can still escape), and driving percussion-imbued “Breathless,” its momentum propelled by organ and bass grooves, and marked by brass arrangements that add a sense of urgency to the instrumentals, while the nimble chanted-toasted verse delivery adopted by frontman David New on this track give it a light taste of the islands. (Critics’ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars).