The Eminent Stars Inspire Booty Shaking with Funk and Soul on ‘Bumpin’ On’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

If you’re a fan of funk and soul, you probably know that you can find a lot of European groups playing in those genres. It kind of makes you wish that those bands would come over here and spread the gospel of funk and soul. On their new album Bumpin’ On, The Eminent Stars (from The Netherlands) play a blend of funk and soul that is sure to inspire some booty shaking.

Right from the beginning, you can hear some New Orleans influence – especially in the piano. Throughout the album, the piano has that rolling and funky sound of Allen Toussaint. You can hear it particularly clearly in the first song “Just One Taste” in which the New Orleans-style piano combines with a groove like Sly and The Family Stone for a kind of irresistible musical gumbo. “Big Easy Dreams” is an aptly-named song that also goes pretty heavy on the New Orleans vibe.  

As with any good funk album, this one gives you rhythms that can make you sweaty. The bass lines in particular are enough to get you to shake what your mama gave you. At the same time, the horns throughout the album bring the Motown sound. Hearing the sax in “On the 5” is enough to make you wish you knew how to blow the horn.

As you move through the album, you realize that this band is pretty well versed across the soul and funk spectrum. “Mrs. Phillips” is an instrumental song whose melody sounds like a meeting between Bill Withers and The Meters. It is a slow burner but it also has a lot of energy with the horns and the organ. If you want some baby-making music (whether or not it involves someone named Mrs. Phillips), this would be an excellent choice.

Bringing this musical stew together is Bruce James on vocals. He has a raspy voice that is sometimes reminiscent of Joe Cocker – only not quite as theatrical. With a voice like his, it seems like he was born to be the singer in a soul band as opposed to, say, an insurance agent.

The album closes with a live song, which is a good thing. Granted you hear the energy throughout the album, but hearing this live performance, you realize what an absolute blast it must be to see this band live. You like to think that the dance floor would never be empty as long as The Eminent Stars are playing.

This is an album filled with infectious grooves. Even the slower songs will have you swaying and/or looking for a dance partner. Don’t be surprised if you end up a little sweaty after listening to this entire album. But hey, dancing to some great funk and soul beats doing burpees.

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