Galactic’s Ya-Ka-May works as a concept album, but its execution ranges from grating to tolerable. By meshing together 200 years’ worth of New Orleans music – revival, big band, funk, blues, bounce rap (sometimes all in one track) – the five-piece band manages to strip most of the charm from each genre.
The fact that they’re trying to synthesize NOLA’s entire musical history into a marketable sound gives the disc a self-important feel, even if their intentions are sincere. There are, however, a few redeeming qualities. Speaks His Mind, with Walter “Wolfman” Washington, is an effective bluesy track, and Galactic get points for featuring prominent bounce figures like Sissy Nobby and Cheeky Blakk.
Top track: Speaks His Mind