[Review] Mama K & The Shades – Honey Made

In the tradition of the large-scale funk outfits that may have seen some confusion regarding their planet of origin, Mama K & The Shades have found a truly cosmic niche in the Austin scene. On their latest, “Honey Made,” the journey laid out by the group ranges from shorter, animated, punchy numbers to a longer-form elasticity of the traditional funk gauntlet, with stops at seemingly everything in between.
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Through David Thacker’s extraterrestrial keys and Kelsey Garcia (the titular Mama K’s) extensive vocal capabilities, The Shades transform their sound the neo-rhythm and blues students to an outfit learned in the way of The Meters and George Clinton’s regalia of sounds. With a sound less focused on the mysticism of the genre and one with its sites on the poly-layered craft itself, the large ensemble stills finds room for each of the Shades to get their footing while joining a commune of sound.

“Like a Fool” is a bonafide row with a lover, making one’s stomach drop to their seat while propelling their hearts into their throats just as quickly. “Main Squeeze” is a Sun Sessions cut gone down to Fat Tuesday and coming back with a new sense of purpose. Closing with the 11-minute “Hot,” Mama K & The Shades reimagine a Meatloaf epic in a world of brass and Birdland.

“Honey Made” succeeds best in following the format of orthodox soul-fusion combos with a release that never has an exhausted moment. Just Like The Killer’s option of “no filler,” the m.o. of Mama K & The Shades is just that.

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