Eighteenth Street Lounge Music
Thunderball, a duo comprised of Sid Barcelona and Steve Raskin, creates some of the hippest, cinematic music around. Sounding a bit like a more organic Twilight Singers, Scorpio Rising could be the soundtrack to one of the finest ’70s urban flicks that was never filmed. With a host of styles kept in play throughout the album, the music ranges from funk to soul and even jazz, yet all the while keeping one foot firmly placed in the electronic camp. Opening with the track “Heart of the Hustler,” guest vocalist Mustafa Akbar provides some cautionary vocals of big city intrigue to a beat and melody straight out of Detroit. Meanwhile, on “Vai Vai,” a slow groove and light vocals from Johnna M create a seductive atmosphere. I can almost see the streetlights hurl past, with this track blaring out of the speakers of my Monte Carlo. “Angela’s Lament,” another excellent track, features a lonesome sounding trumpet to carry the melody against a jazzy backdrop.
At times almost too good to be true, Thunderball fuses organic and electronic music so seamlessly, they make it look easy. The reliance on stock seventies images and an embrace of styles such as this could have made for an ironic and kitschy experience. Yet somehow, Thunderball pulls it all off, providing an album as catchy and infectious as it is smart.