Good Bread Alley works off an overstatement that suggests this music’s real home is in the theater. Carl Hancock Rux tackles religion, sexual politics, war and media overload, which places him squarely in the tradition of Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. Like Gaye and Hathaway, Rux creates supersaturated, open-ended soul music that can tend toward the programmatic, with bluesy vamps, touches of minimalism, and slide-guitar licks providing a rich backdrop for his sardonic baritone. On “Behind The Curtain”, Rux achieves a pop-gospel synthesis that recalls the work of Love’s Arthur Lee. “Black Of The Shadow” features Brazilian guitarist Vinicius Cantuária, while “All The Rock Stars” is a series of funk grooves that add up to an ingeniously dovetailed mutant samba. “Free Gucci/Free pussy/Say you wanna be/On TV,” Rux sings, and if the sense of outrage comes across a bit old-fashioned, the lines are delivered with real passion.
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