February 20, 2003

Test Spin: Addison Groove

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Allophone is the third studio release from the Boston-based Addison Groove Project. Since their formation in 1997, AGP has been cultivating their jazz-funk-rock fusion sound on the “jam band” circuit with the likes of bands such as John Brown’s Body. Famous for their intense live shows, AGP lends the same high-spirited energy of their concerts to Allophone.

AGP boasts an incredibly tight ensemble with seamless arrangements as illustrated on “Carpal Tunnel,” “Hiphopanonamous,” and “Face to Face.” The band’s mixing of musical genres has the potential to open the doors of popular acclaim, but without consistency, these breakthroughs translate as little more than flukes. Though AGP is clearly on the right track, their sound is easily lost amid a host of other bands that also count Miles Davis and Parliament Funkadelic as their principal influences. Their reliance on formula, along with the virtual absence of risks taken on the album, make it difficult to categorize AGP as a forerunner or a follower amongst their peers. This difficulty is realized on tracks like “But if” and “Breathe” on which singer Brendan McGinn effortlessly mimics Dave Matthews’ meandering vocal stylings and indecipherable adlibs. All in all, Allophone radiates potential and fortunately for AGP, the P stands for “project,” indicating that there is much more to come from this Boston sextet. You can check them out for yourself this Saturday at Castaways.

Archived article by Justin Finch