One year after releasing their debut album, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers are at it again with a brand new record entitled Living by the Minute. The nine-piece soul band showed their strengths both as a group and as individual musicians on this new album, each sound, instrument and voices alike, complementing the others seamlessly.
The first track on the album, title track “Living By the Minute,” mixes psychedelic keys with some Supremes-like back up singers to accompany Hoyer’s mature and soulful voice. The song turns into a jazzy jam, and Hoyer tries his hand (successfully) at scatting, adding a really funky vibe to the tune. The second song, “Misfit Children,” begins with a kickin’ bass line, and almost sounds like it should be the James Bond theme song, or something heroic at least. The use of the higher octaves on the keyboard brings the psychedelic feeling back from the first track, pairing well with Hoyer’s vocals. The whole-body grieve I had going on by the second minute of the song was reminiscent of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon.”
Though Hoyer and the Shadowboxers get down and funky on Living by the Minute, they slow it down on two of the tracks, “Over the City,” and “The First One.” “Over the City” features a bluesy horn section, with many dynamic crescendos and decrescendos. On “The First One,” Hoyer lets his Otis Redding-like voice and his incredible breath control carry him flawlessly through his vocal runs and verses. In between the two slow jams lies a jumping, fast-paced dancing song titled “Let it Out.” It has the same effect on my dancing as the song “Shout!” does at every wedding I attend, and like Hoyer says, “Makes you want to shout, let it out!”
The hit track of the album has got to be “Real Time,” which can only be described as the perfect fusion of psychedelic rock, funk, soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz. To reiterate, it is truly impressive how each sound being made supplements its accompanying sounds perfectly. Featuring a quick yet powerful trombone solo from Tommy Van Den Berg, this song is sure to get you moving.
Next is the danceable “11:11 333,” beginning quickly and then dropping into a funky, jazzy mix of horns and keys. As the song begins to wind down, a crispy guitar solo carries the listener all the way to the end of the song, preparing them for the big brassy tune coming next, “Blood and Bone.” As the lyrics suggest, “The people got soul,” and Hoyer and the Shadowboxers absolutely crush it. Hoyer really shows control and maturity in his vocals, making it easy to believe he’s been doing this since he was 8 years old. To end the album, “Don’t Turn Away,” lets the listener down easy with sweet vocals and an “easy-listening” feel. No doubt with time, this band will only get tighter and continue to deliver soulful, funky jams for music lovers of all genres.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Misfit Children
– Let it Out
– Real Time
– 11:11 333
The Big Hit
– Real Time
Review by Kiley Stevens