Thunderball’s new album for the Washington, D.C.-based
label, ESL Music, is slickly produced musical ennui, but it’s not really the
trio’s fault. This type of lounge-y, electronic-based “world” music is nice for
boutique hotel lobbies, but what’s essentially upgraded elevator music just
doesn’t interest or delight at all – not to mention the fact that it’s damn
hard to dance to.
So what’s the problem? Maybe it’s Thunderball’s supposed
range. The album opens with “Enter the Brahmin,” a sitar-infused breakbeat
track that bobs along, never breaking midtempo. Jump forward a few tracks to
“Dub Science,” and suddenly Thunderball is dipping into reggae and dub with
guest vocalist Zeebo crooning about sinsemilla. Then, just to see if you’re
paying attention, the group gives you “Low Down Weather,” which is essentially
smooth jazz. Sigh. So it goes, and so goes what passes these days for
metropolitan, erudite, electronic music.
Science,” “Enter The Brahmin” JONAH FLICKER