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Austin Chronicle Hot Buttered Review

By Greg Beets

HOT BUTTERED RHYTHM

AUGUST 11, 1997:  On Hot Buttered Soul, the Isaac Hayes landmark that begat this band in name and spirit, there's a funk mini-symphony with a relentless hook called "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic," a title that, loosely translated, means "no wank, all groove." Surprisingly enough, the same holds true for Hot Buttered Rhythm's debut, a 13-track, 63-minute, mostly live jam that's all about contemporary mood, finesse, and style -- without the self-righteous masturbation that typically clouds similar collections of pure "players." In fact, the album could be titled Hot Buttered Restraint. From "Conception" to "Celebration," this is a set that not only swings and grooves like the modern jazz/funk it is so ambitiously patterned after, but also one that glides between smart solo passages and the shifting sections where emphasis is placed on dual drums, keyboards, or bass approaches. Best of all, the live production sparkles, with nary a buried or muffled note. And while there are a few grooves on "Butter and the Beast" and "Black Cat" that lie in danger of being overstitched and snapped, more often the subtle jazz aesthetics and grand funk theatrics create legitimate conflict, compromise, and cooperation, which in itself constitutes enough for an interesting, and astonishingly tight debut.
(3 stars) -- Andy Langer

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