Ever wonder what kind of band it would take to win Battle of the Bands when most of your band members are freshmen? A damn good one. Sadly, it was 2001, before the birth of the great Wesleying, so I can’t make a witty phrase and have it link to an article about how awesome they were by someone who saw them first hand. I can, however, point you too their new album, Tortoise Style, a unique blend of soul, hip hop, and funk with a shake of Brazilian influence.
ILLEGALIZE was a fixture in the Wesleyan music scene during its time here (2001-2004), and after being apart for some time, they have reunited to create their first EP since 2002. The line up includes Tavi Fields ’01/’02, Jon “Phes” Souza ’04, Kieran Meadows ’04, Joaquin Cotler ’04/’05, and Sascha Weiss ’04. To add on to the Go Wes-ness I’m feeling, you should know that the band included Bill Sherman ’02, Tony/Grammy-winning music arranger from In The Heights and current Sesame Street music director.
The album itself is solid from beginning to end, beginning with a Brazilian guitar intro that leads into a bouncy latin funk ending with with a hip hop feel you can only get from a live band. The raps and vocals bring in real world experience and true feelings, laying true emotions on the track. Check out the song “Polly” and how it changes rhythms back and forth from 6/8 to 4/4 seamlessly while the whole band holds it down without missing a beat. My favorite track, “1 Life,” takes its time to breath and stretch out, reflecting on life with a feel reminiscent of old school Arrested Development.