Yo, Flaco!

The Skinny (Self-released)

Since the invention of recording technology, party bands have struggled to translate the good times they generate live into a product fans can get the same jolt from at home. In-concert fave Yo, Flaco! faces this challenge head-on throughout The Skinny, whose arrival the group will celebrate on Friday, November 5, and Saturday, November 6, at Herman's Hideaway. In the end, though, one side of the combo's personality comes through more forcefully than the other.

Yo's allegiance to jazz hasn't waned with the years, and the playing on their latest is impressive. Bassist Wes Coplen and drummer Seth Murphy lock in rhythmically, horn players Ethan Raczka and Adam Bartczak bring the brass, and keyboardist Matt Piazza adds welcome splashes of color to numbers such as "Free." Less consistent are the hip-hop elements embodied by MCs Neil McIntyre, Nate Graham and Derris Miles. "Now or Never," with its relatively laid-back verbalizing, works better than "The Party's Right Here!," whose exhortations to "throw your hands up in the air" and call-and-response segments with the "ladies" and the "fellas" are more effective in da club than on da stereo.

A lot of The Skinny is phat -- but some tracks could use more lyrical meat on their bones.

 
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