The philosophy behind the Analog Players Society is to make “people dance, even if the power goes out,” forsaking laptops in place of “rugged and raw” drums, stand up bass, piano and horns. A thoroughly admirable stance. Equally admirable is the fact that the Society boasts members from bands as diverse and respected as TV on the Radio, Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble, Beirut and Blitz The Ambassador. All of which makes it remarkable that they’ve come together to create an album as anodyne as this.
If there are two things Hurricane Season In Brooklyn isn’t, it’s rugged and raw. Everything here is super smooth and insipid, reminiscent of those dark days when you’d be dragged to a house music night to see a particularly uninspired DJ playing 4/4 beat after 4/4 beat, all accompanied by the strains of a saxophonist or bongo player.
What’s missing is precisely what makes the groups the musicians normally play with so special: soul. To be more specific; the bottom. The passion. The something that grabs you by the neck and make you want to get on down. But the most damning aspect of Hurricane Season In Brooklyn is its refusal to take any chances, playing it strictly safe.
Three of the songs here are covers of 80s classics – No-Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait”, Shannon’s “Let The Music Play”, and Wang Chung’s “Dancehall Days” – all respectable, but so much so that even the horns can’t add an edge to the elevator muzak vibe. The original numbers are nice–a bit of reggae here, a little, little bit of funk there–but nothing memorable. The occasional vocal arrangement or rhythm will catch your attention, but most tracks go in one ear and out the other.
Despite its title, Hurricane Season In Brooklyn is a strictly becalmed affair where the band is tight but mechanically so. The hearts of the Analog Players Society are in the right place. But they need to start playing with heart AND soul…rather than concentrating on the vintage nature of the instruments they’re playing on.
- Will Georgi