New Orleans' Juice
(Louisiana Red Hot)
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2001, Volume 8, #9
Written by John Metzger
Don't let Fortified's mundane, idiotic song titles — The Forbidden Donut, The Laundry Song, Geranium to name a few — fool you. It's been three years since New Orleans' Juice began taking its hometown by storm, and if their debut release is any indication, the band is sure to expand its horizons significantly in the not-too-distant future.
Blending blues and jazz motifs with standard funky jam band fare, New Orleans' Juice has more going for it than many peddling similar products. On the opening track The Forbidden Donut, a steamy horn section glides over percolating rhythms to create a furiously scintillating groove. Likewise, the joyous Whistle While You Work — while borrowing heavily from the Grateful Dead's epic Fire on the Mountain — crackles with electric intensity. Adding further variety, New Orleans' Juice is also capable of turning itself into a virtual Little Feat clone, spewing spicy blues on The Laundry Song as fiery guitar leads clamor for space amidst the drum-heavy mix and harmonica melts around the song's edges. There are a few duds here too — the endlessly repetitive Hardwood goes absolutely nowhere and Chicken Shack is just downright annoying — but few discs these days don't contain a little filler. In the end, the good not only outweighs the bad, but also makes for a powerful proclamation.
Fortified 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 © 2001 The Music Box