For the Motet, the groove is paramount — no shock, since the band's de facto leader, Dave Watts, is a drummer. But despite the presence of African inspirations that are at least as prominent as jazz-fusion influences, the beats on Dig Deep (available for free download at www.myspace.com/themotet) are slicker than they are primitive. Consider "Nemesis," which intrigues throughout more intricate sections, during which electro-percussion bounces and pings with gleeful precision, but becomes considerably less intriguing upon the arrival of layered keyboards and "funky" saxophone. Better efforts: a smoothed-out but still brassy cover of the Fela Kuti classic "Expensive Shit," and "Mighty," a Watts composition that effectively translates Afro-pop into a format jam-banders will enjoy without diluting it entirely. And you can dance to it, too.
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