The Bamboos – Medicine Man (2012)

The Bamboos - Medicine Man (2012)
Artist: The Bamboos
Album: Medicine Man
Genre: Funk / Soul
Origin: Australia
Released: 2012
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Where Does The Time Go? (Feat. Aloe Blacc) 03:38
What I Know (Feat. Kylie Auldist) 04:07
The Wilhelm Scream (Feat. Megan Washington) 04:28
Cut Me Down (Feat. Kylie Auldist) 03:36
I Got Burned (Feat. Tim Rogers) 04:20
I Never (Feat. Daniel Merriweather) 03:52
Midnight (Feat. Bobby Flynn) 04:04
Eliza (Feat. Megan Washington) 03:50
Medicine Man (Feat. Ella Thompson) 03:08
Hello Stranger (Feat. Kylie Auldist & Ella Thompson) 04:30
Window (Feat. Kylie Auldist) 03:31

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Hey, I feels you: it’s hard perpetuating the indie stereotype. I know that, underneath those unflatteringly over-sized glasses, that moustache that makes French-kissing a broom seem sexy, and layers of irony thicker than the Earth’s crust, there is a soft, whipped nougat-y centre of a human being.

So when I walked into the office today, looking to stream Burial on Rdio on repeat, and was given The Bamboos’ Medicine Man to review instead, I read the presser and thought, Greatest funk and soul act in the world? Groaaaaaannnn.

See, I’m not a fan of pop, funk, or soul, but work is work, so I gave Medicine Man a spin, and, as soon as I heard the organs with Daniel Merriweather’s vocals on opening track ‘Never’, my lips receded and I bared my teeth, hissing at the sunshine that was spilling into my life. NO! I was panicking, I can’t listen to happy music! I’m too busy suffering from intentionally being emotionally distant from others!

But, by the Camera Obsura-esque opening of ‘Eliza’, my guard was down. My heart melted into a sticky puddle, for which I wrote an apologetic note to the cleaners (along with a letter to Megan Washington declaring my love and offering her a dower of twenty milking goats). I was enjoying this, and, the next time I checked the clock, I’d been tapping my feet to Medicine Man for three hours.

Look, I could give a track-by-track rundown of Medicine Man, but I won’t, mainly because I don’t know what I’m talking about. All I know about Medicine Man is that it is an excellent album, because The Bamboos are excellent musicians, and even better at picking the guest vocalists who add their own sheen to each track without compromising the coherency of the album. The aforementioned Megan Washington and Daniel Merriweather are just two among many, including Bobby Flynn, Tim Rogers, and Aloe Blacc. Objectively, this is a great album. No, really. Find a fault in it. There’s nothing not to like, with the catchiness of pop, the depth of soul, and the sexiness of funk.

My initial reluctance in reviewing this album was in knowing that The Bamboos weren’t on Pitchfork, and probably wouldn’t ever be. That would mean that I would have had to think for myself, instead of having Ian Cohen tell me what to think, as I’d been used to since discovering the site. It would also mean that Medicine Man would be a far-from-perfect soundtrack to frowning and drinking soy chai lattes at hole-in-the-wall cafes. The Bamboos are the kind of band that have fun and make uplifting music. Having to listen to such a band seemed disconcerting, because I was used to crossing my arms and judging people who were having a great time.

So I’d gone out of my comfort zone in listening to this album, and, taking my thoughts down, I’m surprised at how many thoughts have occurred to me. I guess it’s the discrepancy between expectations and reality; Medicine Man is a genuinely good album which is too hard to ignore. It will warm your soul and make you dance – really, really dance, in the sense that you flail your limbs and ignore the smirks coming in your direction, because you’re too busy having fun to give a shit about being self-conscious.

And, while there is a time to listen to Bon Iver on repeat while you pout with your nose buried in a Penguin paperback, there is also a time to let down your guard and stop making snide comments. Because, sometimes, there is literally no reason to be angry. No one thinks that you’re profound because you refuse to be happy. So stop it, get out, have fun, and be happy.
by Stephen Pham

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