"Animal Brain" is the newest offering from the award-winning jazz-rock funksters.
It qualifies as an unintentional coincidence, but damned if “Running With the Fire,” the leadoff track on the Big Payback’s sophomore album, Animal Brain, doesn’t qualify as a kick-ass rise-up anthem for all those legions of despondent Dem voters: “Come all you bleeding hearts/keep the flame alive and/never fear the language of disillusion,” sings lead vocalist Leah Isabel Tirado, channeling her inner Susan Tedeschi.
The rest of the album is a conscious split between numbers that feature Tirado’s strong and sultry pipes (the best one, the heartbreaker “Romeo Knows,” has the serious potential to send both genders sobbing into their Spotted Cows) and horn-powered instrumentals that showcase guitarist Kyle Rightley’s rhythmic songwriting skills. TBH, the only thing that doesn’t quite fit the mix is the blare and blast of the brass on the cover of Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic.”
It’s been a hectic and successful couple of years for this multiple-MAMAs-winning jazz-rock outfit. Collecting nine musicians together to jam and record is never easy. But all the hard work culminates in an album release bash at the Knuckle Down Saloon on Nov. 18. Both your animal and rational brains will thank you for indulging.