Album of the Month
(not necessarily this month)
The Funkin’ Champs
Although Jagúar missed out on Album of the Year at the Icelandic music awards, the band still got the vote for Performer of the year after opening for James Brown and now they receive the most prestigious award of them all: (drumroll…) Grapevine’s Album of the Month. This calls for a celebration and what better way to set the mood than by putting on Jagúar’s very own peppy party album, titled Hello Somebody!
It’s all about having fun and the sextet certainly does that while arguably being the most talented bunch of musicians around. As usual, everyone gets a chance to shine but the real star of the show is Samúel Jón Samúelsson who, in addition to his customary trombone playing, fires up the mic with plenty of swagger. Although hardly a great singer, Samúel possesses a surprisingly wide vocal range and the perfect attitude to go with the music he and his funky friends cook up.
The inclusion of vocals means that Hello Somebody! is easily Jagúar’s most accessible effort to date despite the majority of the songs still clocking in over the five minute mark. The opening track “Bodyparty” immediately sets the pace with a mighty groove and lines like “I can’t control my feet/All they wanna do is party”…which is exactly what they do throughout the course of the whole affair. Sitting down simply isn’t an option if you want to blend in with the rest of the hipsters (all dressed in turtlenecks, naturally) so start moving to the beat, boy…
After reaching its peak quite early on with tracks like “What Is Going On?” and “Butterflies”, the album starts to repeat itself slightly in the latter stages but never to the point of boredom. The word simply doesn’t exist in Jagúar’s vocabulary and I suspect that even the dullest cynics would find it difficult spoil this party…not that they were on the guest list to begin with.