With a large, dedicated fanbase that grows with every top level live show, 8 piece The Tom Gee Band are quite clearly a group who don’t have ‘Better Things To Do’. Having toured together for almost 5 years now, this is the fourth release from the band, who continue to release classy roots music at a consistently high level.
Clocking in at 5 tracks, this EP plays like a love letter to blues-funk, particularly in opening tracks ‘Better Things To Do’ and ‘Shake’, which come replete with all the expected stabs and syncopated funk rhythms. It really comes into its own though on ‘Little Smile’. With a slow intro based around sparse chords, this is a real departure from what’s gone before – the blues chords and smooth vocal mixing well to create the desired atmosphere. It takes over 2 minutes for the mellow rhythm section to kick in, supplemented by effective backing vocals. It’s a highlight because it really shows a different side to The Tom Gee Band, whose usual upbeat funk numbers are not to be sniffed at.
Case in point is the more upbeat closer, ‘Listen To Yourself’, which sets itself around a solid groove and some nice keyboard work. This is excellent jazzy funk, which includes a horn section by turns rhythmic and melodic and a chorus which really benefits from Tom Gee’s honeyed vocal. A fittingly strong end to a high quality EP.