Review: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound - Beat of Our Own Drum.
Label: self-released (CD Baby)
Released: February 24, 2009
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound hail from Chicago, have a song about Baltimore and sound like Detroit...in the 60s. That was the time and place where the local airwaves were a battleground between Motown and garage rock. While not the greatest to emerge from that scene, it was probably Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels that best embodied that clash. And it is that same collision of sound that the Uptown Sound tap.
Beat of Our Own Drum certainly leans more toward soul than garage as Otis Redding or Booker T & the MGs will come to mind quicker that the MC5 or the Stooges, but it doesn't take a very discerning ear to hear the latter nonetheless. The album almost seems as if it came out of that swirling confusion as previously disparate genres clashed. It's like a soul record that discovered rock n roll and added the best elements it offered.
The only difficulty this album really runs into is that it is often too smooth. A song will build and just as it seems ready to really break out, JC and company throw in a hook rather than an explosion. It's not a killer, but it tones down the crazy that both great soul and great garage rock always have. Beat of Our Own Drum is in fact so good that it hints at the greatness that it doesn't quite achieve. They simply need to trust the music enough to let it run wild at times. There are points when it seems like a James Brown moment is ready to happen and when it doesn't, it can be more disappointing than a record that never even comes close to those heights. That is the one missing ingredient that stands between this being really good and flat out fantastic.
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