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CD REVIEW

Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro “Uhuru Peak”

by Shawn Despres

A mere few weeks old, 2010 is already shaping up to be a hell of a year for Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro. To get primed for the release of their new “Uhuru Peak” sophomore full-length, the Saitama sextet started off January with a three-week live jaunt of Australian clubs and summer festivals. Familiar with large-scale events, the natty-looking group previously appeared in the Crystal Palace tent at Fuji Rock ’08.

While 2008′s eponymous debut strove to tear up dance floors, “Uhuru Peak” is all about playing it cool. Boasting a more predominately lounge vibe than its predecessor, tight, well-crafted grooves such as “Theme of Kilimanjaro” and “Super Jock Strut” are heavily accented with jazz in addition to the excellent 1970s throwback funk and soul that is the cornerstone of the band’s sound. Primarily performing instrumental tracks, Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro show off their playful side by working in small vocal parts on “Sweet LAS Coke” and “Mr. Soul Machine Gun” from “guests” Diana Russ & the Chou-Creams and George Clikinton.

After 11 cocktail-sipping numbers, the guys cut loose on “(Ain’t Got Nobody) Just a Rambling Man.” The infectious notes turned out by guitarist Naokazu “Bobsan” Kobayashi and his wah-wah pedal mix wonderfully with the up-tempo organ, trumpet and tenor saxophone creating something that will have even the most chilled of cats eagerly searching the bar for a pretty lady friend to get down with.