U Ready, Man?
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2003, Volume 10, #4
Written by John Metzger
Good soul music — be it from Philly or Memphis — is a thing of the past. Much like country, the entire R&B movement has been hijacked by bland, generic, corporate pop. There is hope, perhaps, as North Carolina’s Hobex seems hell-bent on a singular mission — to serve up grooves that resurrect the classic sounds of Al Green, Sly Stone, The O’Jays, Curtis Mayfield, Santana, and War. Produced by former Ben Folds Five bassist Robert Sledge, U Ready, Man? — Hobex’s third outing — soars right from the opening notes of Maybe It’s Me. Within each song, the band leaves plenty of room to take flight, so much so that one can only imagine in a concert setting how high So Far Away climbs, how hard the funk of Playin’ Games is pushed, or how wildly the instrumental Ode to Billy G swings.
That’s not to say that all of U Ready, Man? is hunky dory. At fifteen songs and just over an hour of music, the album tends to overstay its welcome, becoming somewhat redundant along the way. Worse, there are moments when the songs dance dangerously close to becoming typically tepid jam band fare. Regardless, at least Hobex tries to rebuild a once powerful genre by first gaining a solid understanding of it. Better still, it more often than not succeeds.
U Ready, Man? is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box