If there exists one word to try and encapsulate the sheer abundance of groove in The Drip, it would be “punch” (“pop” would be a close second). In any case, this descriptor would need to be of the onomatopoeic variety, because this album is a verb, not a noun. Nine tracks of back-to-back-to-back momentum and drive, every break in the sonic stream implies re-entry. Syncopated bliss, tracks like Rhythm Chante deploy Karimah’s repeated phrases and Audrey Ochoa’s staccato trombone blasts to paint the proverbial town electric. One cannot help but feel that the totality of this experience is tailor-made to be taken beyond the studio, into a live space befitting its live energy.
Switching between upright and electric bass, Rubim de Toledo is a curator of low end, opting with upright when more percussive attack is desired, and amping up when emphatically doubling horn lines. Across this galaxy of funk, it is de Toledo that remains integral to the sound of the ensemble. As much as there are standout tracks throughout, the elephant in the room here is certainly The Long Way (Up). Contrasting beautifully against the gauntlet of upbeat punchiness that proceeds it, this song has a very minimalist intro courtesy of guitarist Felix Tellez’s sustained arpeggios and Jamie Cooper’s ride cymbal alchemy. Just as that initial build to a climax begins to feel inevitable, Rubim de Toledo yanks on the reins and brings us home.