Long in the Tooth
The Budos Band’s sixth studio album Long In The Tooth, on their longstanding label, Daptone Records, marks the 15th anniversary of the band’s eponymous 2005 full-length debut. The album was recorded in just five days at Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. After one listen, you might expect a full orchestra behind the curtain, instead, you’ll find the eight usual suspects – Brian Profilio [drums], Daniel Foder [bass], Tom Brenneck [guitar], Mike Deller [organ], Jared Tankel [saxophone], Andrew Greene [trumpet], Dave Guy [trumpet], Rob Lombardo [bongos, congas].
As you likely know, this band doesn’t sound like your typical horn-drive soul-rock unit. Tower of Power they are not. Instead, it’s what they call afro-psychedelic Soul Rock, clearly a signature sound. The opening tracks what put the emphasis in that collection of words on “psychedelic” but as the album unfolds the driving rhythms, more than anything, color in the soul rock aspect of the sound. Some equate the overall sound to the score of a movie Quentin Tarantino never made.
The Budos Band had reached a critical high watermark with Budos V in 2019. Maintaining the momentum from a particularly prolific period, they convened in Tom’s Diamond Mine Studios in Queens for five days to record what would become Long in the Tooth. “You’re hearing a band live in 2020, which is a feat in and of itself,” observes Tom. “Bands don’t record music like that anymore. It’s like the rest of the world has been making records as if they’ve been living in quarantine for 15 years,” he laughs. “In some ways, it’s reminiscent of our first two albums Budos I and Budos II. We branched off on Burnt Offering and Budos V. Now, we’re still moving forward. You can play these songs on the dance floor. We knew the horns had to stand out too.”
These 11 tracks are all in the two-three-minute range, radio friendly material in the form of short, crisp groove heavy tunes, signified by the opening title track and first single, “Long in the Tooth,” with drums simmering between swells of horns as guitar snakes towards a resounding organ, a blending of sounds that for some explicable reason conjures up sounds that are not even there. (swear there was a pedal steel in there somewhere but there wasn’t). This may offer a partial explanation. By recording horns in a cavernous tiled hallway of the empty industrial building in Long Island City that is home to Tom’s studio, the band brought what feels like an otherworldly echo to “Haunted Sea.” Dreamy organ slips into an impetuous beat on “Sixth Hammer,” as a choir of horns summons ominous film noir-style danger. The trip culminates on the wild “Renegade” punctuated by a whirling and warbling backwards guitar solo. “It’s more of a taste of what our shows have been like in the past few years—just energy off the rails,” Tom goes on. “We slowed the tape down until it stopped and did this trick where we lifted it and started playing it backwards. Half the song is forward, and the other half is backward. It sounds like a fucking god awful bad psychedelic trip.”
The appeal of this album is that it can take the listener in so many different directions mood wise. The reference to a a bad acid trip is one example. Other tracks such as the robust, triumphant, beat drive “Budonian Knight” is downright booty shaking stuff. Often they will make the listener happy and although they never seem to conjure up sadness, there’s more than enough weirdness to go around. That just makes for repeated listens, invoking curiosity and a quest for trying to pin down something that will inevitably remain undefinable.
- Jim Hynes