On their latest disc, the Mumbles combine an East Coast pop sensibility with a New Orleans laid-back horn attitude.
Although singer songwriters are usually thought of with guitars, the Mumbles qualify as that kind of band but with a little more muscle.
The songs have melodies that both sing out and move places. The arrangements don’t distract from the songs, but are smart enough that listeners won’t notice the substitution of keyboards for bass guitar.
The fact that the band has Robin Clabby on baritone saxophone (the instrument that is the secret weapon of New Orleans music) also helps in that department.
Singer Keith Burnstein has a warm and smooth voice that makes the sentiments of “The Relative Ease of Being Lonely” and “Wishing Well” sound more true. The horns punch and wail like the best back of town rhythm and blues with fine solos from Eric Bernhardt.
Originally from New York, they have absorbed New Orleans into their music as the Toussaint-like rhythms that transform into a slide-guitar fueled gospel romp of “Miracle Elixir” show. They also balance an earnest outlook with a wry humor in “Reclaiming California” and “My Heart Stayed Seated.”
There are few surprises in the Mumbles’ Syncopatience; simply well-played music and well-written songs with both a touch of the Big Apple and the Crescent City.