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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Velour Records

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With Say What You Mean, Seattle's Maktub ramp up their rock & roll credibility, sidestepping an overly trendy trip-hop trap the quintet might have seen coming after 2003's Khronos. The fancy footwork pays off -- songs like the Al Green-reminiscent "Say What You Mean" and "Daily Dosage," with its heavy soul crash, saw the act splintering from regional-favorites status to full-on, bring-'em-on blues-rock-soul heroes within a month of release. If credit could fall squarely on a single pair of shoulders it would, but given the enormity of frontman Reggie Watts' Afro that's an impossibility. Suffice it to say that his four-octave range and Prince-like charisma permeate every track; though fans of Sly Stone and Lenny Kravitz will climb aboard first, count on Watts pulling in listeners from musical planets across the stratosphere. © Tammy La Gorce /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Velour Records

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Seattle's Maktub shouldn't be doing this. Sure, artists like Macy Gray and Alicia Keys have made a stab at resurrecting soul, but Maktub do the job properly. From the first notes of "You Can't Hide," it's quite apparent that the band's heart lies in the late '60s and early '70s, the golden years of soul, all helped by a bit of a studio gloss that's definitely form the new millennium (courtesy of, surprisingly, Steve Fisk), but which never threatens to smother what they have going on -- which is a definite groove. "So Tired" is Al Green fronting Sly & the Family Stone -- singer Reggie Watts floats into falsetto so easily and purely, he's a joy to hear. The guitars can get a little dirty at times, and the analog synths add a real period flavor to the proceedings. But for much of the time, they have the substance to back up the style of Fender Rhodes and Hammond organs. "Give Me Some Time" even has Northwest rock references in its choruses, and "Baby Can't Wait" is airy bliss, even down to the sitar touches. In fact, until their cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," this is almost a perfect record. At that point, however, they drop the ball a little. "No Quarter" has the locked-in groove, but that's about all -- certainly not enough to justify its eight-minute length. After that, "Motherfucker" is something of a mess, and the closing "Then We'll Know" never quite gels. But any band that can get it so right for eight cuts -- and even the remaining three aren't awful -- deserves fame, fortune, and mass adulation. Welcome back to soul. [When Velour picked up Khronos for release in 2003, they changed the artwork and removed "Motherfucker."] © Chris Nickson /TiVo