Dynamite Brothers – Again

January 01, 1970

(Rawdawgin’ Records)




Good god, how did this, the sophomore platter from Chapel Hill’s Dynamite Brothers, elude national critics
upon its release late in the fall? The fact that the band has been around in
one form or another for an entire decade makes the funk/soul/garage quintet’s
under-the-radar status all the more criminal. Formed by Mitch Rothrock and
Scott Nurkin as a kind of punk-blues guitar/drums duo, the Dynamite Brothers
eventually decided to steer clear of any Black Keys/White Stripes pigeonholing
by expanding both the lineup and the sound, and by the time of 2003’s Clap Along With the Dynamite Brothers they were getting rave notices peppered with such diverse namechecks as Mofro
and the North Mississippi Allstars, Badfinger and early Kinks, vintage
Stax/Volt and classic Nuggets.


It took awhile to get the followup to that album underway –
between 2003 and now there have been personnel changes, plenty of touring, and
an odds ‘n’ sods stopgap release, 2007’s Rarities,
B sides, and Soundtracks
– but as the cliché goes, damn boy, it sure was
worth the wait. Again kicks off with
the sound of noisy revelers, then it’s headlong into a triple-punch of
psychedelic funk: “Back at the Shack” is powered by blistering, Eddie
Hazel-esque guitar leads, “Can’t Stop Falling In Love” continues in a Funkadelic
vein with chiggery percussion and chanted vocals, and “Neighborhood Pharmacist,”
with its low groove, sinister organ and sinewy wah-wah guitar, is a de facto soundtrack
to an imaginary Blaxploitation flick.


The tone duly set, the Brothers subsequently set the controls
for the heart of the soul. You’d be hard pressed to peg the spooky, nocturnal “In
Time” as a contemporary composition, sounding way more ’69 than ’09 (it brings
to mind the blues-based material of early Black Merda). “Yer Fine” is upbeat
and Apollo Theatre-worthy, with a distinctive JB’s edge. “The Shakes” detours
back into P-Funk territory (right down to one of the vocal taglines: “I wanna
testify), with additional overtones of Sly & the Family Stone and even a
hint of Latino rock. And closing ballad “Purple Neon, Pink Champagne,” with its
massed falsetto vocals, suggests a duet between Marvin Gaye and Prince. In
between the band tosses out a few curveballs, including some ‘70s-style boogie,
hardcore-worthy thrash and a soundtrack-y instrumental piece called “Monday
6:58 AM.” Throughout, though, the mood for Again summons up the vibe of a block party where the Dynamite Brothers are at the
center of a drinkin’, dancin’ and lovin’ vortex, serving up the tunes well into
the wee hours of the morning.


It’s the kind of party you’ll want to go back to – again and


Standout Tracks: “In
Time,” “Neighborhood Pharmacist,” “The Shakes,” “Happy Hour” FRED MILLS


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