by Chad Beck
After years of steadily building their reputation as “Fort Wayne’s Best Party Band,” Strut Train finally releases Aww Yeah, a highly anticipated collection of irresistible tunes and sensational rhymes. Even funkier than the booties that shake it up at Strut Train’s live shows, Aww Yeahis a gargantuan achievement for the boys in the band, something fans and newcomers will both enjoy immensely. If there has ever been any doubt about the talents of the Train, let them now be dismissed with the 12 overwhelming tracks found on their long overdue debut.
Aww Yeahplays like a great party disc should. A brief ice-breaking introduction leads into a full-length album of euphoric madness, conjuring up the same energy that has made bands like the Beasties and George Clinton such universal powerhouses. “Sum’n To Give” is a raucous welcome to the shindig, followed by track after track of heavy grooves and good-natured vibes. If Dave Pagan’s charismatic vocals don’t make you feel like a part of the action, nothing ever will. Likewise, drummer Duane Alexander’s frequent contributions on the mic are charming and forthright,carrying the band into another dimension previously uncharted by similar lineups. Pagan and Alexander give the top cuts like “Divine,” “The Point” and “Stooley” shimmer and shine without overshadowing the immensely impressive musicianship the rest of the band demonstrates throughout the entire disc.
It’s difficult to brew up a musical concoction as potent as Strut Train do without boiling over into a mess, but Aww Yeah demonstrates a band in complete control of their talents while holding onto their instinctual spontaneity. Bass player Tony Timms is absolutely amazing at holding the backbeat together while Ian Mosher does a fantastic job of co-anchoring him in percussive bliss. Strut Train’s rhythm section is as tight as any in recent memory, and should be a hugeselling point for the band as a whole. Topping it all off is Matt Cashdollar, a treasure in an already rich pile of talent. Each members of Strut Train has talents worthy of blabbering on and on about, but it’s their team effort that is most impressive and should carry them onto bigger arenas than Fort Wayne has to offer. Aww Yeah indeed.
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