If organic-ambient-trance-funk is a style best explored in a live showdown, then Philadelphia’s Lotus certainly prescribed themselves a mighty challenge. Add the exorbitant number of bands in the jam sector creating pulsating instrumental compositions into the equation, and you have to wonder how Lotus – or any band for that matter – can distinguish themselves from the pack of wired beats and slinky jazz tradesman. But the Philadelphia five piece has been steadily gathering up a sweaty following, while quickly coming into their own. Now they step off stage once again to offer up their second release, Nomad, on the Harmonized record label.
It’s difficult to find the notable stand-out of the band, though ironically, that’s Lotus’ greatest strength – playing as equals. Together, Nomad exhibits Lotus’ tight ability to blend shades of organic groove with elements of urban house, quite a laudable feat considering the band was born within the sunny festival circuit. From the rhythmic opener “Suitcases,” to the suave “Livingston Storm” – featuring melodious keyboard and guitar licks trickling over a re-current theme – the band lives for improvisation and in-the-moment energy. The sticky funk of “Greet The Mind” solidifies the band in their deep groove foundation, as they continuously opt to steer clear of a more low-key approach. Often times that can become a recipe for repetitiveness – and Nomad does become somewhat long winded towards the latter half – but they get away with carrying the beat forward as the entire album fits that slinky, groove tightrope, so why break it.
The obvious challenge here was converting their live element into the sterile confines of the studio. But they pull it off with style, as Nomad fits comfortably into the CD rack as a go-to party album or an ideal late night drive choice to keep your pulse beating behind the dreary wheel.