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The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker

Burn It Down

(Thirty Tigers; US: 15 Sep 2009; UK: Import)

The Dynamites and ecstatic frontman Charles Walker succeed in its retro act because, while the band is strongly grounded in classic soul and Walker got his start in the ‘60s, the band does its own thing. A track like Burn It Down‘s “Somebody’s Got It Better (Somebody’s Got It Worse)” might reveal a love for uptempo James Brown, but the high-energy performances are more current than a nostalgic trip. The group can put down a groove (“Do the Right Thing”), but the band is at its best when forgoing the heavy funk in favor of a more rollicking approach. On that note, nothing on the disc tops the opener “Burn It Down”, which has all the sparks of something already on fire. To highlight the group as a rampaging act, though, does a disservice to Walker’s Somebody’s voice and nuanced delivery, as he can sing a ballad, and, of course, he can get nasty.

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Justin Cober-Lake lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, kids, and dog. His writing has appeared in a number of places, including Stylus, Paste, Chord, and Trouser Press. His work made its first appearance on CD with the release of Todd Goodman's first symphony, Fields of Crimson. He's recently co-founded the literary fly-fishing journal Rise Forms.


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