Described by Village Voice as the "missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong," The Soul Rebels Brass Band, as you would imagine, encapsulate a hip hop sensibility while paying full respect to the brass band tradition from which they come. Led by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, the New Orleans-based eight-piece produce funky, horn-driven music that immediately invites the listener to party.
Formed in the mid-2000s, the patronage of southern funk legends The Meters did them no harm at all, and as a result, their support slots became more prestigious; now, Unlock Your Mind is their first, full-length studio album. Many will know them from the season finale of TV series Treme. The question after all of this is simple: how can such a joyous live act transfer onto disc?
The answer: fairly effortlessly. They clearly evoke their most obvious reference point, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but there are also elements of David Shire’s claustrophobic brass-heavy score from the cult 1974 film The Taking of Pelham 123.
[...] At times, it veers into school orchestra territory at the moment when they first learned how to play the theme from Rocky; but this is a minor quibble. Overall, this is a full-on, joyous, positive album that makes you feel like celebrating – indeed, you may be hard pressed to hear a more vibrant, life-affirming record this year.
By Darryl Easley (BBC Music)