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Published: 2007/04/23
by Glenn Alexander

Electrodomesticos – Spam Allstars


Miami’s Spam Allstars are a rarity in the world of instrumental/dance music. Not only do they have a gift for melody that lingers, as well as an imaginative compositional sense, they are expert purveyors of groove. If electrodomesticos does anything, it grooves while also being thinking man’s music (in the modern sense). In fact, the Spam Allstars are so thoroughly marvelous at this, they collectively steer Groove Almighty’s ass straight towards its outer reaches, ricocheting sounds off one another without cacophony or distraction. Each track is doused with heavy measures of ingenuity, patient pacing, as well as full-on blowouts, allowing these multi-layered concoctions to seep in and do their work the way a good groove should. On a track like “Gallo Pinto”, you can witness the band sculpt a horn melody into a flute-laced funk workout complete with live breakbeats and near-perfectly placed electronic samples that is at once other-worldly and fiercely grounding, as well. While it feels fresh, it also feels old school, but in the very best way. This collection shows the Spam Allstars looking through a kaleidoscope of sound, attempting to dispense a multitude of influences (vintage funk, Latin grooves, jazz improv, soul, hip-hop and electronica) into a singular, demonstrative moment. Electrodomesticos is both expressive and cohesive, maintaining a real sense of innovation among the many musical ghosts of the past it so proudly struts around for us.

The epic “Aranitas” grinds its way into a shimmering place where saxophones and trumpets rise above a scaffolding of Latin rhythms, techno samples, and a fiercely funky drumbeat. The title track boasts a James Brown guitar-scratch meshed with a Latin guitar meditation, somehow making them feel like long lost kin; while punchy keyboards, samples and horns indulge the beat alongside techno flourishes and 80’s synth-funk, making for a tasty sample of what the Spam Allstars do best: mix old world sounds with new world creations into a concoction all their own.

“Who Knows” is where funk enters a trance-like dimension replete with swirling space sounds (thanks to Phish’s Page McConnell), Afro-Cuban beats, and delay-drenched horns. Its time like these that the Allstars stretch their sound into something more than a multicultural funk workout, exhausting the outer expressions of funk’s many faces while tracing a path to something newer and darker. “Afrika” is the Spam Allstars’ version of pop, albeit without the replacement of soul with sheen. As keyboards bounce brightly alongside a group of female vocalists, horns and keyboards forge a melodic path towards the Caribbean and beyond.

Nowadays, a culture’s art is often defined by the way in which it merges its widening and sometimes conflicting influences, and because our cultural influences are expanding faster in this Information Age, it seems appropriate for a band like the Spam Allstars to come into their own. They masterfully negotiate their sounds into an ever-widening parade of body, soul, and groove, with a firm grasp on the here and now. Simply put, Electrodomesticos is a tour de force of world electro-funk that is both totally unpretentious and blissfully groovy. The world of funk and electronica is a big place. If you’re uninitiated, start here. You may not want to leave.

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