sun 07/03/2021

CD: Tuxedo - Tuxedo | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tuxedo - Tuxedo

CD: Tuxedo - Tuxedo

Shiny-suited funk from the LA-Seattle supergroup

Tuxedo: shiny suits and shiny shoes

I work in an office where music is generally played in the background. Picking the soundtrack for a Friday afternoon can be a particularly fraught moment: one person's idea of a wind-down from work and a promise of leisure to come can be too cheesy, or too laid-back, or too pounding. It's been a minefield. But no more: thanks to this album.

I work in an office where music is generally played in the background. Picking the soundtrack for a Friday afternoon can be a particularly fraught moment: one person's idea of a wind-down from work and a promise of leisure to come can be too cheesy, or too laid-back, or too pounding. It's been a minefield. But no more: thanks to this album.

Tuxedo is a kind of supergroup. Los Angeleno Mayer Hawthorne has recorded for the ever-sophisticated Stones Throw label, delivering a particularly sophisticated, 1970s-scented retro soul. His records have always oozed class, but have often struggled to differentiate themselves; while “hotel lobby music” might sound like an insult, his songs sound like the soundtrack to a particularly decadent and fabulous hotel, for better or worse.

Seattle-based Jake One, meanwhile, has operated in the background in a different way, as part of the production team for 50 Cent's G-Unit team and general gun-for-hire in the hip hop world, with credits for the likes of Snoop Dogg and De La Soul. Teamed up, however, something major has clearly clicked.

The big-money punch of Jake One's production could have been a kiss of death: it could have drowned Hawthorne's soul in studio flash. However the songs the duo have written together have risen to the the occasion and gleefully make their presence felt way after you've got over both the shininess of the sound and the impeccable reconstruction of funk/boogie tropes.

We're in similar territory to Justin Timberlake's 20/20 Vision here, but with the stoner indulgences replaced by snappy song structures; there is not an ounce of fat on this album. Chic, Prince, Cameo, Slave, Change and a dozen other shiny-suited funkateers loom large but somehow Tuxedo transcend the influences and make something that will – I guarantee it – make you feel like the best weekend ever is about to begin.

The big-money punch of Jake One's production could have been a kiss of death

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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