When you think of Hammond B3 organ in classic R&B, you think of Booker T. Jones, and his return to the Stax label features plenty of those instantly recognizable warbling pads and staccato chord jabs. While Sound The Alarm isn't completely retro, Jones delivers the classic feel his fans are looking for.
Most of the album finds Jones in a funky throwback soul mood, with chunky drums and production touches occasionally nodding to hip-hop. The bouncy instrumentals are balanced by a large cast of guest vocalists, but too often their songs sound like outtakes from those singers' catalogues. Iz and Bobby Avila (aka the Avila Brothers) produced and co-wrote the bulk of the tracks, and those are the most successful. It would have been smarter, though, to use them for the whole album, as the smattering of generic blues jams and guest showcases seem tacked on and out of place.
Top track: Sound The Alarm feat. Mayer Hawthorne