Nov 3rd, 2023
11th studio album, This Is How You Do It is ultimately the sound of The Bamboos sounding truly comfortable in their own skin and ready to keep exploring the possibilities of what their music can be, expanding their musical horizons to incorporate neo soul, boogie-disco and hiphop.
Now into their 23rd year, The Bamboos have maintained their worldwide reputation as trailblazers of funk and soul. Their 11th studio album This Is How You Do It signals yet another stage in their continual evolution, as it explores new ground yet remains unmistakably the trademark combination of Lance Ferguson’s soul-powered production style, the effortless groove powered by a nine-piece band and Kylie Auldist’s incredible voice.
The album kicks off with titletrack “This Is How You Do It”. Built to incite involuntary rhythmic movement of human bodies everywhere, this is the sound of The Bamboos distilled down to its central innermost essence, the nucleus, the kernel, the core. Boogie-drenched second track “Ex-Files” was the first single, and puts the horn section way out the front to get its message across. A mosaic of interlocking rhythmic elements is formed, a deep well of percussion, bells and gleaming guitars. Kylie Auldist rides this magic carpet like a boss, diving through the night and into your dreams.
Featuring Kylie Auldist’s son Reggie Auldist-King aka Reginald AK, second single “Safe From Harm” is a sensuous excursion into mellow neo soul territory. Floating on a sonic raft of enveloped bass and Maestro Rhythm King drum machine, Reginald AK’s angelic, soulful tones wrap you up in aural cotton wool. Drift and glide as the track fades out slowly to bandleader Ferguson’s slick guitar moves.
New Zealand Don KINGS brings the business on, “Everything’s Gonna Be O.K”, an uplifting slice of live-band hip hop. His flow is equally smooth and raw at the same time (no easy feat), and on the music side it’s all about that bright-size piano riff and the feel-good horn refrain. After a few listens to this you’ll rest assured that the Sun is never ever too far below the horizon.
“The Main Event” is an official soundtrack for nocturnes of all nations and persuasions, a war cry for hedonists and all-night party specialists. Be warned: If you follow Kylie Auldist down the rabbit hole you may never return – and either way you’ll never be quite the same.
While “Caicos Down” is an apocalyptic instrumental so-named for The Bamboos recent expedition to The Caribbean, where Southern Hemispheric beats were brought to many new friends, where minds were opened, and where wide eyes gazed upon the magical vista of the port of Grand Turk, Caicos, as the sun rose across the sea like a congealed neon highway mirage.
“Unfurl your wings…” is the opening line to “The Space Between”, which sums up the freedom with which The Bamboos incorporate their various influences across this new record. The signature bass/guitar mutant Meter’s riff is there, but also a bit of ‘Fever In The Road’ era essence plus a newer, wistful, dreamlike quality that is distilled out of the synths and ethereal vocal production.
Longtime Bamboos family-member and collaborator, US-based MC Ohmega Watts brings along partner-in-rhyme Ozay Moore for “On The Record”. Built on a hard-swinging breakbeat from drummer Graeme Pogson, things really heat up when the full-scale marching band brass section parade through the chorus with Roman Centurian-like precision.
“Afterglow” plays like a soulful nursery rhyme, playful glockenspiel melodies dancing around Kylie Auldist’s honey-sweet delivery. Flugelhorns in the brass section and Daniel Mougerman’s tender Fender Rhodes work just add to the lushness. It’s a chance for the backing vocalists to shine too, the latest addition to the sprawling band line-up that shows no intention of stopping.
Reginald AK, the prodigal son returns, this time over a 90’s-approved boom-bap loping live loop that never quits called “Bored”. This guy has a heart of gold, but he’s not above letting you know if you’ve been running your mouth too long. Like mother like son.
Seattle-native, Michigan-based MC Ozay Moore embodies hip hop culture as not only a truly gifted MC, but also an incredible graffiti writer. He’s the real deal. A live band combined with an MC of this quality is a striking musical animal, one that breathes and rolls and sways in a way that’s different than anything out of the box, and that’s demonstrated on “Midlife Glow”.
The band saves one of the best ‘til last with album closer “Better Than That”, a soulful anthem built in two movements. Kylie is in devastating form here, a true gleaming diamond – but one that through music anyone can get close to. And besides her larger-than life voice and personality, maybe this is her greatest gift, the gift of a nurturing and empathetic spirit. “Climb on out again…Yeah you got a friend..”
No matter how anyone might end up trying to categorise it, This Is How You Do It is ultimately the sound of The Bamboos sounding truly comfortable in their own skin and ready to keep exploring the possibilities of what their music can be.
‘This Is How You Do It’ on LP / CD / Digi on Nov. 3rd 2023 via Pacific Theatre