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Soul Junk
1941 EP
(Absalom Records)

I like small labels and I like goofy little projects like this 3" CD collectors series that Absalom is putting out. Packaged simply in quiet little cardboard packages and including CDs that include roughly 20 minutes of music per release, it's a fun way to get some more music by groups you like and a way for a group to blow off some steam and release something simple and small. Not only that, but with two different sides to the releases (acoustic and electric), the small label has the bases covered.

That said, this release isn't one of the highlights of the series unfortunately. Although I've not heard much by Soul Junk, I have heard good things about them from several different sources, but perhaps this is just a bad formal introduction. Comprised of 5 tracks of varying lengths, the release starts out with a bang but soon dribbles off into tomfoolery that simply doesn't do much of anything.

Starting out with the 20 second "Sticker Shawk," the intro blasts through some pitch-bent samples and other wack noises before settling down and launching into the totally kicking beat of "Houston." It's this track that is the absolute highlight of the disc, even though it doesn't really do a whole lot that's groundbreaking. With several different layers of samples that sound like old school computers (think WOPR from Wargames) computing, the track rides along nicely with a danceable beat and some thick keyboards thrown in for good measure.

The rest of the release, however, mainly falls off into fairly lackluster improv-sounding stuff with some horns and drums mixed with random turntable effects. "Achilles Eye" flails about while occasionally hitting some sweet notes while the album closer (a ten minute track) "Sulpher Puddle" is muddled with random bursts of beats but again sometimes hits some high points. If you've subscribed to the series, it's a bit of a letdown, but the lure of other excellent artists in the series still wins out.

Rating: 5