R&B rockers The New Congress were going to call the new album Woman Is God. Then it was Crucial. As ar as fans of the band are concerned, the title could be Who Did It and Ran. Anyone who’s followed TNC for ten minutes could predict this joint is gon’ jump. Which, indeed, it does, down to the bone, soulful sounds.
It’s hard to out-do TNC’s debut Everybody Gets Up! And there’s that bugaboo about a sophomore jinx. These guys come through like champs. Anguish, Love & Romance, straight-up, is cash money you can take to the bank.
Aaron “Orange A.C.” Cosgrove (lead vocals, guitar) and Russ King (keys, vocals) are the crux, supported by Manny Fresh (percussion), DJ Dudley D (turntables), Barry Alexander (drums), Ian Young (bass), Debra Grahn (vocals), and band manager Steph Devine (vocals). Everybody Gets Up! served serious notice there was some new boys in town. Anguish, Love & Romance establishes the L. A. Music Award winning upstarts as an outfit of consequence. “Save Myself” is typical TNC, silky smooth with a funky kick. It’s one of those tunes that, once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your mind. “With Me,” an Earth, Wind & Fire-ish ballad, transfixes. “1000 Degrees” comes straight from the school of kick-ass-and-take-names. The anthemic gem grabs you right away, holds you hard to the finish.
And none of that is the really good news. The New Congress are not some laboratory success that have trouble cutting it live. Get these guys in front of a crowd and just try to keep folk from dancing, clapping, and yelling their you-know-whats off.
For good measure, sitting in on Anguish, Love & Romance are national artists Talib Kweli and Twista, along with local luminary Desdamona. The New Congress, a heavyweight outfit from jump, just got heavier.
The CD release event for Anguish, Love & Romance is Friday, October 23 at the Fine Line.