This is one of those groups where I know the name and, if pressed in a trivia contest, I might be able to name their biggest hits out of a list, maybe. But, otherwise, I really don’t know much about them. (I didn’t know the leaders were white, for example.) So I was familiar with the big hits (“That’s The Way I Like It” and “Get Down Tonight”) because who isn’t? But I don’t know if I’d ever heard anything else.
This album is actually their second. And it’s a fairly solid funky early disco, more on the disco end of the spectrum than the funk end, because of the music’s overall lack of artiness and quirk.
The songs are fairly catchy – though none as catchy at the two hits – but are plagued by disco’s problem (for me): they are super repetitive, short on lyrics and short on variation. These songs are not entering the canon, it’s safe to say.
The musicianship is pretty excellent – for instance, I’ve never noticed how bonkers the guitar is on “Get Down Tonight”. (It is studio-assisted but its’ still pretty damn cool.) Like many of these bands, the problem I have with the music has nothing to do with the musicians: they are (very) good at establishing and keeping the groove. And, when they want to/are allowed to, they clearly can play. But this is a genre that thrives on doing the same thing over and over again.
I’d still rather listen to this than most disco. It’s early enough in the genre’s history that it’s not as robotic as the genre later got, and it still sounds like funk at times. But this music primarily exists for people to dance to it and, well, I don’t really care about that. Moreover, there is plenty of danceable music out there from the ’70s that is also intelligent or weird or both. I’d much rather listen to that stuff.