Superhero Brother, recorded in Philadelphia at The Studio and the band's own Philadelphonic Studios, as well as Longview Farms Barn in Sturbridge, MA, combines both political and party songs. The album is a reflection of the band's eclectic recipe for its Special Sauce, from tasty, post-hip-hop Beatles-influenced blues-rock ("Communication"), spicy tropical island rhythms over an Archie Bell and the Drells "Tighten Up" groove ("City Livin'") and well-seasoned Chambers Brothers-style funk-rock crossed with Cream's "I Feel Free" ("What We Need") to sweet, blue-eyed Philly soul ("Crumble"), a red-hot Stones-y "Sympathy for the Devil" vibe ("Peace Love and Happiness") and homemade, rappin' blues layered on top of a John Lee Hooker Delta stomp ("Superhero Brother"). "I think of us as a rock and roll group," explains G. Love. "We definitely incorporate a lot of different flavors, which is why we tried to focus on what we're known for this time... Making sure the backbeats are funky. Each song tells a unique story, both in subject and musical style." Tracks like "Peace Love and Happiness" and the title cut deal with social issues, something G. found hard to ignore. "With the election coming up and the war on everybody's minds, there's no way some of those feelings could've escaped being on this record," he says. "Peace Love and Happiness" was inspired by a trip G. Love made to the same slums of Rio de Janeiro depicted in the movie City of God, asking pointed questions like "How come the presidents just build more bombs/When they should start disarming?/With all that money spent on guns/Instead of food and education." "The experience just hit me really hard," he admits. "We had this great day playing music for the kids. I just went straight back to the hotel and wrote the song before the show, then performed it for them." "Superhero Brother" finds G. Love playing the role of savior, with tongue firmly in cheek and harp in mouth as he name-checks Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, Britney Spears, Jesus and the whole cast of Friends, vowing to solve the myriad of problems in the Middle East by sending the troops on the first plane home to their moms. "Wiggle Worm" combines G's Little Walter blues harp, Houseman's big rock drum beat a la Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and ex-Goats member Mark Boyce's Dr. Dre keyboard swoops into a brand-new dance craze, while "Soft and Sweet" boasts rap rhythms, acoustic guitars and a Dylanesque harp. "I wrote `Soft and Sweet' in Costa Rica several years ago on vacation, imagining how great fatherhood was going to be," says G. "These days, it's all about music and being a dad." "Wontcha Come Home" is a cover of an old Jamaican rock steady song by The Conquerers on the famed Trojan label, buttressed by Jazz and Houseman's Sly & Robbie-like rhythm section, while the rollicking "Who's Got the Weed," featuring The Pharcyde MC Slim Kid Tre, begins with a bong hit and recounts the true story of Love trying to smuggle some particularly pungent homegrown Buddha aboard a plane in his shoe while stinking up the whole aisle. "I keep the crip close to my hip," he sings.
Similarly Requested CDs
Great New Sound
Hugh M. Willett | 06/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In opposition to the previous reviewer, I thought this was a great album. With the keys added the whole band has gained a rock structure that they just couldn't tout as well before. The opening track is a clever meld of genre's, one of G. Love's old tricks and City Livin will get stuck in your head in a matter of minutes. I must say i did not like Wiggle like a Worm, it didn't really fit into the rest of the album. P,L&H sounds just like a good old Stones song. Georgia Brown and Crumble are my other two favorites on the album, the former being a twist on the common blues progression with some nice vocals by G. Love and the latter has some great piano playing and is a great twist on a gospel like groove. What G. Love has shown recently, if he has a lack of talent in amazing lyrics, is he has a great sense for production, the harmonica is also improved on this album and I'll be damned if you don't like it. G. Love knows he isn't out to save the world, he just wants to bring everyone a little fun."