Sorry, the time machine is still broken: The Soft Boys and Herbie Hancock

You know that scene in every time travel movie ever, the one where by some fluke of the universe the time machine breaks and the protagonists are STUCK IN TIME. Until they harness lightening/fix the antenna with bubble gum/steal another time machine from a future version of themselves and return to the right time period. Well I’ve been playing that scene out musically again, getting stuck behind several different, awesome but older albums over the last couple days.

Herbie Hancock is a jazz musician of considerable acclaim, pumping out a staggering amount of music from the early 60’s right on through to present day. Without diving into too much detail (because I don’t have the time for that yet), he has pretty much covered every style of jazz over his career, creating essentials in several different genres. One such genre was jazz-funk, which he invaded with 1973’s “Head Hunters”.

Consisting of two massive 10 minute jams and two shorter, more oddball tracks, it positively oozes DAT FUNK. Raunchy basslines, crisp boom-bap drums and some damn fine horn work round out a super-chill and twice as funky album. It’s just so smooth, that classy kind of smooth, the timeless cool kinda smooth. It’s the kind of cool that gets copied, emulated and bastardized but never replicated.

Even for someone who has never dug their ears into jazz before, it’s a really fun and accessible album, one that will tickle your ears and put some funk in your rump.

The other album that has been getting spun its fair share is “A Can of Bees” from The Soft Boys. An English band formed in the late 70’s and releasing records well through the weird period of the early 80’s, their debut is a very eclectic combination of punk, rock, blues, psychedelic, pop and that weird new-wavey stuff I can’t think of a better description for.

A blend of jarring, off-kilter interludes with standard pop-rock song structures and blending together a myriad collections of instruments and vocals, it is definitely a weird album. However this weirdness if crafted in such a way that the songs still remain listenable and just the right amount of catchy. As someone who spends most of their time listening to blaring walls of red-hot sonic violence, something like this comes off as a practically refined.

They have a lot of cool riffs and noodles that you can hear echoes of in modern heavy music and at least half their songs are driven along like your standard rock tune, albeit slightly unhinged.

I should probably stop digging through history and start writing about some current flesh ‘n’ blood.

I’m getting there ok?

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