Galactic – Ya-Ka-May

Anti Records

Named for a multi-ethnic soup and surefire hangover cure Ya-Ka-May is a veritable Mardi Gras experience in a can. Touted as being something beyond “your father’s Galactic” this auspicious outing capitalizes on the two things that make the New Orleans ensemble so amazing: roots and modernity.

Melding genres and eras like red beans and rice Ya-Ka-May echoes the melodic caprice of Galactic’s groove-laden Ruckus but with a more balanced approached than demonstrated on the band’s rap ’n’ beat-dominated From the Corner to the Block . Horns whistles and handclaps raise the roof on the carnival-worthy “Boe Money” (featuring The Rebirth of Brass Band) while Big Freedia cruises the urban wasteland on “Double It.” One of the band’s many stellar vocalists Irma Thomas shares some sage advice on “Heart of Steel” cautioning “I should’ve known better than to sit back and watch it burn.” Dredging NOLA’s “Dark Water” for strength and inspiration this 15-track gumbo is already a contender for one of the year’s best and brightest releases.