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Tuatara: Trading With The Enemy
Tuatara: Trading With The Enemy
turnover time:2024-06-22 06:29:30

When a band has a pedigree like Tuatara's, there are bound to be high expectations. The group's debut, Breaking The Ethers, united members of R.E.M., Screaming Trees, Luna, and Los Lobos with some lesser-known friends to indulge their affinity for classic bebop and world music. While the material was reasonably accomplished, the playing often sounded flat and uninspired, and the album was kind of a disappointment. Fortunately, one year and a lot of touring has made a huge difference. On Trading With The Enemy, Tuatara sounds like the dynamic, energetic collective it's supposed to be. By tightening up the arrangements and adding two horn players and another full-time percussionist, the band has developed a much fuller sound. Unlike Breaking The Ethers, which was essentially the brainchild of percussionist Barrett Martin and bassist Justin Harwood, Trading finds all 10 players involved in the creative process. The decision works well. "The Bender" swaggers and struts like a cross between some '70s blaxploitation theme and Louis Jordan's jump-blues. And on "P.C.H.," buzzing guitars ring over a pulsating beat, evoking the opening to some lost '60s road movie. Vivid, cinematic, and often surprisingly raucous, Trading With The Enemy actually lives up to the world's justifiably lofty expectations.

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