4.1.05

da Modculture

Link Quartet"Italian Playboys" Record Kicks
File under Jazz, Acid Jazz and Latin

This is the third Link Quartet album to be reviewed at modculture, with the previous two receiving glowing praise as a fine mix of new and old tunes from an increasingly impressive Hammond combo.
So I was looking forward to reviewing this album and wondering if the usual formula could stretch to a third album.
Well, it is the same formula to a point, but writing it off as more of the same would be doing a disservice to the band - because this album has a lot more depth (and range) of sound than previous releases and is far funkier - helped I’m sure by the assistance of Doug Roberson (Diplomats Of Solid Sound) and Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds).
There are still covers, but carried off well. Alan Hawkshaw’s ‘Move Move Move’ is given new life, ‘Rubber Monkey’ has real power and Jack McDuff’s ‘Briar Patch’ does justice to the man and the song.
Only The Beatles’ ‘Glass Onion’ fails to make it for me - but most Beatles’ covers in 2004 sound a little tired.
However, unlike many of today’s Hammond acts, the band don’t need to rely on covers and its pleasing to hear so many self-penned tunes on the album.
‘The title track ‘Italian Playboys’ sounds like it should do - Saturday night in a steaming cellar bar, Hammond screaming away, backed up by a damn funky rhythm section.
The oddly titled ‘Deliquesced By Devonshire’ and ‘Greased On Delta Street’ are in a similar vein, not a million miles from early JTQ, while ‘The Monster Of Milwaukee’ is a moodybit of slow funk that wouldn’t be out of place soundtracking a 70s spy flick. ‘After And Once Again’ would also sit nicely in a film setting, but probably from a decade earlier.
‘Janine’ takes us in another direction, in this case catchy pop. And the single ‘Lady Shave’ is different again - fronted by the sultry vocal of DJ Ninfa, it’s another example of how the band can mix it up and really rock out, excellent stuff!
‘Spider Baby’ is a great tune - think ‘Indian Vibes’ meets club jazz meets Air - you’ll not be far off! And the album closer, Take Four’, is another cracker, like something from the Dirty Harry soundtrack - a slice of jazzy funk with a hint of menace.
Overall an album I have greatly enjoyed and an example to other similar bands of how you can take a very 60s sound and make it relevant 40 years later.
Well recommended.

Reviewed by David Walker (review posted on 30th December 2004)