There’s a middle ground between “starving artist” and being on the level Jay-Z, which I like to refer to as the “working artist class.” This group is deep into their artistic endeavors, but still maintain a 9-5 day job they happen to be quite successful at. While juggling both can be very rewarding, there are times when you have to choose between the two. The duo known as The Other Guys had such a decision recently, and opted to take some well-spent vacation time to craft an impressive project titled The Week Instrumental EP.
The name is inspired by the duo taking an entire week off from their respective jobs to focus on crate-digging and song-crafting. There’s a song for every day of the week, starting with “Monday,” one of two tracks to feature original vocal performances. Von Pea of Tanya Morgan starts the theme well by giving a cosign to the Other Guys lyrically over some smooth, down-tempo rhythms. This segues into the much more upbeat sounds of “Tuesday.” The triumphant horns and a savvy beat break in the middle, coupled with vocal samples of a elementary music class, gives you feeling of that the week has truly started. The sluggishness of Monday is now gone, and you’re ready to knock out some assignments.
Hump Day (“Wednesday”) has a street corner jazz feel, and is set off with the vocal sample of an irate digger chatising a family member for touching his record collection. His words offer a good reminder of the power of music and it’s influence on our lives.
The most significant music change comes on “Thursday Night,” a track that infuses elements of industrial rock and electronica . It’s a record that you could see being a musical backdrop for anyone from Nine Inch Nails to Lady Gaga. The vocal loops add a haunting feel that “Friday” builds on, but the latter holds a a more urgent rhythms that adds a danceable element.
“Saturday Night,” as warranted, holds the most sensual elemnts of all the songs. The low, but still noticeable tribal kicks around the main drumbeat (think Jade’s “Don’t Walk Away”), combined with the “ahh” vocal loop, gives the images passionate hookups and nightlife (what else are Saturday evenings good for?).
Of course, “Sunday Morning” is the time to atone for any sins made the night before. J. Pope’s lyrics (“…like manna from heaven…”), and the tone of the backing flute makes this sound like a sacred invocation. The spiritual content is heavy, but not pretentious.
And just like that, we’ve made it to another lazy “Sunday.” The Other Guys return the sound to jazz — in this case, it’s cocktail jazz for a quick closing. For just a week’s worth of work, The Week Instrumental is a very effective EP. Even with the big sound change on Thursday, all the sounds flow together. I’m not sure how much more vacation time these two have, but I’m looking forward to their next week off.