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Galactic, ‘Ya-Ka-May’

SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: February 09, 2010
Label: Anti-

For Ya-Ka-May, New Orleans brass-funk combo Galactic recruit a cross section of local luminaries, from the great R&B singer Allen Toussaint to bounce rapper Sissy Nobby, for a dip into the city’s dark waters of sin and salvation. Odes to liquor and cocaine (Josh Cohen and Scully’s “Liquor Pang”) rub against testaments to personal fortitude (Irma Thomas’ “Heart of Steel”). Galactic struggle to accompany all these signifying voices, sometimes resorting to hard, strident rhythms that don’t really augment the performances. But you never get the sense that they’re tourists — they can blow, sway, and dive as well as any N’awlins marching band.