New Orleans jamband kings Galactic have released their 11th album, titled Into The Deep. Band members Ben Ellman (saxaphone) and Robert Mercurio (bass) produced the LP, which is a finely crafted mix of laid back New Orleans funk with hard driving rhythms that range from jazz to rock to hip hop. Here's a track-by-track description from the two:
There are eight guest vocalists on the album, who each bring their own flavor to the songs. The two songs that will probably get the most attention are the soulful "Does It Really Make A Difference" featuring Mavis Staples and the intricate title track with Macy Gray, "Into The Deep," which blends relaxed southern R&B and orchestral pop.
The other vocal highlights include a few hard funk tracks: "Higher And Higher" with JJ Grey, "Domino" with Ryan Montbleau, and "Dolla Diva," with David Shaw of The Revivalists and Maggie Koerner, which is sleazy in all the right ways. "Right On" is maybe the most modern sounding track on the album, with Ms. Charm Taylor on vocals. "Chicken In The Corn" with Brushy One String gets a little repetitive, but shows how the band can take rootsy music and put their spin on it.
Galactic is known for their great instrumental tunes, and this album delivers those too. The opening song, "Sugar Doosie," is named after a famous second line dancer in New Orleans; appropriate, because it's a fresh take on second line jazz. "Long Live The Borgne" and "Today's Blues" are in the vein of funky legends like The Meters, Booker T and The MG's, and The JBs. "Buck 77” is a psychedelic mind-bending jam with Galactic's unique sonic signature all over it.
The band spoke with Paste Magazine about how the album came together:
“I see this album as a kind of culmination of all of our collaborations or experiences, from Corey Henry to the people we met on the road, touring,” Mercurio says. Ellman agrees. “It’s not random guests—it’s all about people,” he says. “It’s these connections we’ve made over 20 years. They’re people in our orbit, that have come into our little world and affected us in some way.”
In many ways, this album is a return to the formula on Galactic's first few records that helped them break through to jamband royalty. The deluxe version of the album includes three live tracks, the most notable of which is "Something's Wrong With This Picture" featuring Galactic's original vocalist, Theryl deClouet (aka Houseman). The Houseman's last appearance on a Galactic album was in 2003, and it's a special moment to hear his voice again after all these years.
In all, Into The Deep lives up to its name. This is an album that goes deep, with excellent songwriting, relentless musicianship, and flawless production. Over 11 songs and 42 minutes, the flow never feels forced or disjointed, and each track builds on each other to create something truly remarkable.
For the latest music, news, and tour dates from Galactic, check out their Zumic artist page.