The Budos Band: Ephra
From The Budos Band EP (Daptone, 2009)

The Budos Band, your favorite Staten Island soul stalwarts return to satiate you with a selection of scintillating songs. Available on June 23 on digital, vinyl, and CD (CD from Daptone’s site ONLY), this EP covers ground between their debut and sophomore albums. Two tracks you may have heard previously – “Mas O Menos,” which was on The Budos Band II, and “The Proposition,” which was on a Budos Band 45 from 2006.

The material here continues forth from their first album and gives you a sense of how they ended up with their second album – namely chunky bass riffs and solid horns. Some members of the band also perform with the Dap Kings, El Michels Affair, and the Menahan Street Band such as Tommy ‘TNT’ Brenneck and David Guy to name a few.

Featured on the EP are six killer tracks and a short half-minute bonus track thrown in for good measure to give you a lucky seven. Tempo-wise, the album remains fairly constant. “Hidden Hand,” the opener, bubbles up with thick bass. “Smoke Gets In” sounds as if it’s sneaking around an unfamiliar tomb. “Ephra,” named after the goddess who bestowed powers upon the knights of old Budonia, perhaps seized control of the band and gave them the power to create a playful rhythmic backbone that is overlaid by majestic horns. You almost feel like a harem should appear from around the corner and perform a ritualistic dance.

For completists, this is a no-brainer purchase. For those who haven’t yet gotten into the Budos Band I must ask, “What are you waiting for?” The Budos Band’s sound reminds you of something you’d hear in an African or Middle Eastern bazaar where it would stand face-to-face with a snake charmer. If you don’t watch out, you, too, could get bitten with their potent venom.