Some will never give The Baldwin Brothers a chance on name alone. It’s their loss, for these Baldwins are not preening, fatuous members of the Hollywood acting dynasty, but a snappy, headstrong Chicago-based duo with a diabolical bent for heady brews of electronic-based jazz-funk.
Like their 2002 debut, the long-in-development follow-up “Return of the Golden Rhodes” offers nü-lounge tracks with traces of Seventies kitsch plopped atop a forever-melodic bed of beats. Amidst samples and scratches, their signature Rhodes electronic piano bounces throughout like a party host in a smoking jacket, at the ready to fill your glass or crack a joke.
Mostly instrumental, “Return” boasts guest stars when appropriate, including members of Queens of the Stone Age, Basement Jaxx and Lo-Fidelity Allstars. If no collaboration quite reaches the giddy heights of their debut’s “Dream Girl,” it’s not for a lack of trying. Winning, infectious “¦ and not a Stephen among them.
– Rod Lott