After a slimmed down version under just the Badge Epoch moniker, the full Badge Époque Ensemble returns today with a new single and a new album on the way. Featuring constant collaborator James Baley on vocals, the song dips into the smooth but simmering end of the funk and soul of the ’70s. There’s a post-Stevie sheen to the track, shades of Boogie Down Eddie Kendricks, but the Ensemble’s jazz leanings make them more supple and hard to pin down. The band, tight as ever, slips through rhythm on a greased axis. Flutes and sax spar with Baley’s vocals while the backing vox (arranged by Dorthea Paas) give the song a soaring playfulness that’s pure BEE. A lot of familiar faces return, with the Ensemble now nailing down their Canadian crew and playing their prowess into a kind of soul elasticity that’s infectious. “Zodiac” burrows into the brain and lights up the neural net. Movement is all but inevitable while its on the speakers. The new record, Clouds of Joy, is out September 1st from the band’s home at Telephone Explosion.
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