When we first wrote about The Expansions almost four years ago, we were blown away at their sound. “Aubergine’s Escape” was a psychedelic blaxploitation cinematic earful that got us really jazzed up on the London group. Here they are back in 2018, releasing a string of single take sides with a very small amount of overdubbing. This six track record runs the gamut from insanely jazzy grooves to soulful disco, jazz funk and more. A track like “Cannonball”, all live like a hip hop track with some mellow CTI-esque notes sits along side a magnum cut like “Ivory Mountain”, that turns into a beautifully written and executed disco track that reaches the outer edges of the heart and soul in each and every one of us. A huge highlight on the record for us. The almost eight minute single, “Breakthrough” is synthy and experimental, but holds a groove for the entire time. A head nodder that is really hard not to get down to at all. It’s like Creed Taylor once again let the Expansions loose in 1974 in the studio, steady on the drums and keys and said “open up however you want.” This groove runs deep and long, and they are not afraid to put it out there. “Dragonfly” gets as close to a Herbie Hancock jam as you can, taking you there and back with tip top keyboard and rhythm work, making this future jazz funk classic a keeper. “Pocket 5” runs into broken beat territory, and the last track of the record, “Miles Away”, an eight and a half minute opus that really flows freely in the wind with jazz funk feelings the whole time. With nods to the elders such as Grover Washington and Idris Muhammad, they are also running in the same circles as musicians in their South London like Ruby Rushton and Yussef Kamaal, who have made huge impacts in music with their certain sound. The Expansions for sure have their own sound, and as the discography grows bigger, they are maturing as players and pun intended, expanding their territory. We are glad we are along for the ride. Sold out on bandcamp, it’s available after the stream at Juno Records and other fine record stores. Another one you’ll visit again and again. Albert’s Favourites is slowly becoming our favorites as well.
Get the record here.