The debut album from the Brooklyn-based group 79.5 sounds as if they have channeled the vibe of funky flutist Bobbi Humphrey’s soul-jazz output for Blue Note in the ‘70s and then topped it off with a blast of sassy ‘80s RnB.
Headed up by bandleader Kate Mattison and produced by Leon Michels (of the El Michels Affair), the upbeat, intoxicating blend is defined by tracks like “Boy Don’t Be Afraid,” where rugged drums are paired with mellifluous flute riffs and honeyed lyrics. Upping the playful kicks, “Fireman” is a flirtatious ode to New York City firefighters set to a moody groove, while the title track showcases a mellower side to 79.5 that’s bedded by deep Fender Rhodes.
As Predictions unfurls, more and more influences are thrown into the mix — but the lively nods to funk, jazz, new wave, disco and sunny ‘80s pop are molded together with a breezy seamlessness. When the band hits full stride on a track like the sun-blissed “Facing East,” the 79.5 experience becomes irresistible.
79.5, Predictions (Big Crown Records)