I cannot believe it is June 22nd already. Summer is officially here and what better way to bring in the warm fun season than to jam out to some amazing music – but what exactly is out there to listen to? Luckily Atlanta act The Constellations have decided to drop their debut release titled Southern Gothic just in time to provide a great soundtrack for your summertime fun.
After two years in the making with assistance from producer Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective), the eight piece act has released an album that mixes all the fun of bands like Outkast, MGMT, and the Gorillaz with almost a 90’s grunge / soul combination all while adding their own flair.
Honestly there really is no way to define a genre for this band as their songs range from rock to hip hop to pop – that is not necessarily a bad thing. Lacking consistency never sounded so good. Add in love for Tom Waits and guest appearances by Cee-Lo Green and Asher Roth, it is quite apparent this band is not a gimmick you are listening to.
“Setback” opened the release with a funky electronic jam heavy on the bass with lead vocalist Elijah Woods almost rapping over music that easily could be thought on something the Chemical Brothers might have created or even Fatboy Slim. This was the song that was brought to my attention to earlier in the year and needless to say it sparked my attention tremendously.
Not giving the idea that Southern Gothic might be only an electronic album came “Perfect Day” a relaxed and very cool sounding track reminiscent of good ol’ Gnarls Barkley. It’s only fair to mention Gnarls Barkley seeing as “Love Is A Murder” featured ½ of the act otherwise known as Cee-Lo Green who provided a monologue throughout the track. This was one of those songs that easily will stick to the minds of many and be broadcast all over the radio.
“December” was another track that just screamed to be played on the radio and sounded like a unreleased Broken Bells track. I could not help but think of how perfect the song would be for a going out on the town mix. “Take A Ride” proved to be another inebriated party track with the message to just raise hell starting at the barstool.
“We’re Here To Save The Day” sounded like a strange alliance between Beck and Eminem. Listening to Asher Roth supply a flow of heavy heard rhymes throughout it was apparent song clearly was out of place with the rest of the tracks yet was amusing to listen to. I also could not help but wonder why Asher Roth was almost blatantly shown the spotlight on the song while earlier Cee-Lo barely crept through his spoken word of sorts.
“Step Right Up” was by far my favorite track on the album as it was a clear tribute to Mr. Tom Waits. The song was a completely off the beaten path revolving around one of my favorite artists of the 70’s. Keeping with the iconic storytelling individual this song also keeps the funk moving around for almost ten minutes. I can not see everyone getting a kick out of this song but something tells me this is one of those songs best seen live.
“Remurder Is A Lovemix” was a soulful piece with the commonly heard advice “if you really wanna live, you gotta be ready to die”. I enjoyed this song with Elijah Woods changing up his singing style as well as the random distorted guitar solo that jumped in the middle of the track.
Southern Gothic is a gallant release by a group of musicians who seemingly refused to keep their material contained. Usually the result of something of this nature could be disastrous but The Constellations manage to pull it off in a great way. Already turning heads at SXSW and Bonnaroo the band continues to tour and will be making a stop at Lollapalooza. Do yourself a favor and make sure that Southern Gothic is part of your playlist one way or another this summer. This band will be going places, I know it.
DOWNLOAD THIS! – The Constellations – “Setback”