The Nth Power, “Spirits” from the Basic Minimum Skills Test EP (2013): One Track Mind

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Like The Endangered around this time last year, I came across a EP from a band just getting off the ground that stands out from the current crop of emerging acts, because it’s a band that’s uncommonly soulful in the way soulful used to be. They do it with a gumbo of funk, soul, jazz and rock, using the Neville Brothers for its roux.

That’s the New Orleans troupe The Nth Power for you.

Made up of all members whose names start with the letter “n” — Nikki Glaspie (lead vocals, drums), Nigel Hall (lead vocals, keyboards), Nick Cassarino (guitar) & Nate Edgar (bass) — these are seasoned musicians who are fronted by Glaspie, who’s toured as Beyoncé’s drummer, and Hall who’s done the same with Soulive and Lettuce. The Nth Power evokes the richness of the music culture of their Crescent City without having to fall back on a single second-line beat or a trumpet blast. Perhaps it’s that honest, swampy analog sound, or maybe that in spite of all the plugged in instruments, this is roots music. Like the Derek Trucks Band, it’s not so much rooted in the 30’s but in the 70s.

“Spirits” leads off the six song set called Basic Minimum Skills Test, and sho ’nuff, it’s a spiritual kind of song. Oscillating between a dreamy Latin-infused jazz vibe and a strident rockin’ chorus, the harmony vocals bring it all together. I can hear echoes of early Santana, The Crusaders, Curtis Mayfield, Ambrosia, The Allman Brothers and Pharaoh Sanders swirling about this song that comes off like a lost classic from any of those acts. The remaining five songs show no letdown, either.

All that bodes well for their upcoming first full-length effort, Abundance. We’ll keep ya’ posted.

Click here to purchase a download of the Basic Minimum Skills Test EP.

Visit The Nth Power’s Facebook page for more info.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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