For the second time in its eight-album career, New Orleans quintet Galactic recruits a host of Big Easy guest vocalists to shake up its standard instrumental-only mix of funk riffs and hip-hop beats on the group's latest release, "Ya-Ka-May." Galactic benefits from the inclusion of its hometown singers, who provide a boost of energy and musical styles. The song "Katey vs. Nobby" features sharp, clever trade-off verses from New Orleans rappers Katey Red and Sissy Nobby, who deliver the lines in the high-energy "bounce" hip-hop style that's exclusive to the city. Meanwhile, fat basslines and soulful vocals from John Boutte dominate the track "Dark Water," while the aptly titled "Liquor Pang" features singer Josh Cohen lamenting over a jazzy brass accompaniment, "I'm making bad decisions with the money I earn." In New Orleans vernacular, "Ya-Ka-May" is a stew comprising various meats, green onions, noodles and a hard-boiled egg. This album may well be the musical counterpart of the dish for which it's named.
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