Galactic, "Ya-Ka-May"

Album Review
4
<p>For the second time in its eight-album career, New Orleans quintet <a href="/artist/galactic/183907">Galactic</a> 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 <a href="/artist/katey-red/400629">Katey Red</a> 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 <a href="/artist/john-boutte/176100">John Boutte</a> 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.</p>