First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2007, Volume 14, #2
Written by John Metzger
Founded in 1996, Hobex has been lacing its albums with classic soul grooves since long before the style came back into vogue. In that regard, its latest effort Enlightened Soul is no different from its predecessors. Given how much more prevalent the influences of Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, War, and Al Green have become within the music industry, however, the endeavor also feels like a bit of a letdown. Part of the problem is that Hobex still hasnít figured out a way of capitalizing upon its initial promise. Instead of transforming the refrains that it has borrowed from the past into something new, the group appears to be content with merely emulating its heroes. Even more puzzling is the Phish-meets-Bob Dylan twang of both Behind the Door and the title track as well as Natural Childís expansive, blues-baked homage to the Jeff Beck Group. Although these songs likely are meant to provide a change of scenery, they come across as diversions that sound jarringly out of place. Nevertheless, when Hobex locks into the free-flowing funk of Free the Music or settles into the shimmering sweetness of Man and a Woman, You Set Me Free, and Push It Off that Hill, itís impossible not to be transported back to the golden days of 1970s ó thus proving that the better moments from the bandís 2002 outing U Ready, Man? werenít flukes. If Hobex only could find some focus and direction, it just might concoct a set that would live up to its own hype.
Enlightened Soul is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box