Fat Freddy's Drop - Dr Boondigga & The Big BW

Fat Freddy’s Drop come from the same land as Crowded House and Zane Lowe, but don’t let that put you off. Dr Boondigga & The Big BW is the follow up to debut Based On A True Story, a number one LP in New Zealand and a former winner of Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Album of the Year. This last fact may give you a better idea of what to expect: a blend of soul, reggae, jazz, funk and electronica.

The record opens with the impressive Big BW. Laidback soul, with frontman Joe Dukie’s smooth vocals making way for fresh Miles Davis-style sax in the middle, it establishes the relaxed pace. Fat Freddy's Drop don’t go in for three minute pop songs; in fact, all of these nine tracks weigh in at over the five minute mark and some could be legitimately labelled epic. Yet, once in the right mood at least, this material rarely feels bloated.

The band know how to develop a track, either by weaving in new elements or through a sudden twist. The Nod, for example, begins as bluesy funk, but morphs into a Dixieland jazz wig-out towards the end. Shiverman perhaps best shows off their electronic aspirations with beats and dubby echoes. The in-yer-face brass eventually arrives, but you can bet it will encourage some wiggly dancing rather than kill the party. What might kill the party, however, is the occasional excursion into straight reggae. All I'll say is being reminded of UB40 during a decent album is like being reminded of Margaret Thatcher during sex, or poo during a nice meal.

Perhaps it’s the genre-hopping, the willingness to engage with forms that might not be considered the height of cool, or even the fact that Fatty Freddy's Drop are from New Zealand. There is often an engaging, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it oddness about Dr Boondigga & The Big BW, which, along with a commitment to good old-fashioned musicianship, makes it worthy of a recommendation.

Overall

7

out of 10

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