Brass Construction IV

The last of this funk band's Roman numerals (though not their last numeric album: that would be Brass Construction 6), it's not as nakedly idealistic nor high quality as their first two, but the shift in conventionality is hardly fatal. While the aspirational messaging remains a thing here and there ("Perception (What's The Right Direction)" and "Help Yourself" in particular), there's also more typical funk ("Get Up") and a bit of disco ("Night Chaser"), and although the latter bunch of tracks might not be as sophisticated they're still a lot of fun. My favourite track, however, is the wistful procastination of self-improvement in "Starting Tomorrow," sung to smooth '70s style R-and-B with an almost Zappaesque doo-wop bridge, and one of the band's best tracks yet to appear on any of their collections. The weakest part of this album, besides the pedestrian mating ritual of "One To One," is that it's just too short. EMI tried to get you covered here by pairing the reissue with the inferior Brass Construction III, more of the vulgar and less of the clever, but my CD-R (made to order) has a screwed up first track and weird artifacts on IV's "Sweet As Sugar." Heaven forbid they should do their back catalogue any favours. (Content: mild adult themes on "One To One.")