“You Really Don’t Have To Like Me”
Charleston quintet The Cool’s new studio album is a funky hodge-podge compilation of demos and tracks collected from years in the home studio. Unfortunately, the sound quality is dim, inconsistent, and full of outdated (i.e. ’80s) drum machines and chorus/flange audio effects. Stylistically, things shoot in different directions from song to song. The title track is a finger-snapping doo-wop number. The bristling, rock/reggae opener “Working on the World,” with Fiona Phillips on lead vocals, sounds like a confident power anthem from a Motels or Kim Carnes album. The mellowed-out, congo-tappin’ acoustic tune “The Sky” features guitarist Bill Cool on lead vocals … or is it Dave Mason, or Richard Thompson? The funky, bass-thumpy “You Don’t Have to Like Me” is currently a fan favorite. Altogether, this resembles a semi-pro warm-up session for a serious, more cohesive studio effort. (www.thecool.biz) —T. Ballard Lesemann
The Cool perform on Fri. July 27 at Club H2O.
With tight drums, layers of flanged guitar and bass, and an animated lead man who’s clearly eaten his James Brown/Wheaties, Atlanta band Entropy’s Crawl presents a fairly solid, soulful romp. It’s not what you’d put on to wind down at bedtime — this is heavy-hitting, ass-shakin’ music. Atlanta’s Outkast-led legacy is well-represented as well. Dubs, references to chicken wings, and fake radio station spots liven up the album between the often similar-sounding tracks. The disc is heavy with lead man Rod William’s rhymes, tight in their delivery but perhaps sacrificing some brass section jamming that’s likely a highlight in their live show. In “Another Man’s Woman,” he brags to a husband about how he’s the wife’s “favorite pony, homey,” while five tracks later, “That’s My Woman” warns a competitor that “you’re ’bout to lose some teeth.” The raunchy lyrics are typical rap fare, but work well with a talented backing band that consistently impresses. Calling out the hippies at their shows in “Shake,” Williams says, “Now Frito-Lay your punk ass down.” The lyrics might be sub-par, but the grooves are first-rate. “Put the pick back in your ‘fro, let’s go!” (www.entropyfunk.com) —Stratton Lawrence
Entropy jam it down at the Pour House on Sat. July 21.