First Listen: The Dangerfeel Newbies get brassy on “Sensitivity”

(August 10, 2018) When the opening finger snapping, foot stomping, clapping on the two and four, rollicking good time opens the Dangerfeel Newbies’ latest single, the party instantly bangs, and one is ready to breakout the purple, green, and gold beads and their grown folks’ two-step. Then, without warning, former lead singer of The Boys, Tajh Abdulsamad, enters with a smooth and simple vocal, singing the familiar #1 R&B melody by Ralph Tresvant and I’m stopped cold. As if doused in ice water. And, that’s no shade to Abdulsamad’s well maintained instrument, but rather the mash-up itself.

(August 10, 2018) When the opening finger snapping, foot stomping, clapping on the two and four, rollicking good time opens the Dangerfeel Newbies’ latest single, the party instantly bangs, and one is ready to breakout the purple, green, and gold beads and their grown folks’ two-step. Then, without warning, former lead singer of The Boys, Tajh Abdulsamad, enters with a smooth and simple vocal, singing the familiar #1 R&B melody by Ralph Tresvant and I’m stopped cold. As if doused in ice water. And, that’s no shade to Abdulsamad’s well maintained instrument, but rather the mash-up itself.

Produced by the Atlanta-based trio turned duo that brought us the epic Hariet and Southern Sun projects, Jamal Ahmad and Mark Angel know how to bring top notch R&B, jazz, and soul to the party, particularly of the danceable variety. Couple them with Atlanta by way of New Orleans, The Sabor! Brass Band, featuring drummer/bandleader Clarence Levy, pianist John Beal, and trombonist Mokota Turner arranging a killer brass section and a musical slam dunk is the expectation de jure. The results here, however, are one of an acquired taste in much the way DC’s go-go covers of Top 40 classics can sometimes feel shoe-horned to ill-fit an otherwise pleasing form.

The gender-bending, country fried version by Meshell N’Degeocello released earlier this year on Ventriloquism illustrated that the Tresvant classic is ripe for all kinds of reimagining. And, the Dangerfeel Newbies and their collaborators did follow the cardinal rule of covers: either do it better than the original or completely reimagine it. To be fair, the cut is redeemed by a slightly sped up bridge that sported a nice bit of swing, but overall the Mardi Gras party meets sultry midtempo groove was a swing and a miss for this reviewer. Luckily, the cut has not in the least dampened my high hopes for the duo’s junior album release coming later this fall.

What do you think of the latest Dangerfeel Newbies cover?

By L. Michael Gipson

Dangerfeel Newbies – “Sensitivity”

 
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