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Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs 504-799-8147 

Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs


(P.O.M.E. Music Group)

click to enlarge cd_rev-1.jpg

Mark my words: The current New Orleans trend of treating horns like guitars with effects and distortion is going to blow up nationwide. Mark Mullins of Bonerama and Troy Andrews have been rocking venues and recordings with this technique, and Shamarr Allen is on board as well. As he says on the rocking first cut of 504-799-8147, "Typical Rock Star," "No guitar/ I did it with my trumpet." Allen has the power of Freddie Hubbard or Maynard Ferguson, but there is little jazz on this record. In contrast to previous efforts, 504-799-8147 features a greater emphasis on Allen's voice and songwriting. Allen has a good voice, but nothing about it will blow you away. The strength of the record is the way it integrates musical genres. It has the crunch and loud guitars of a rock album, the lyrical rhymes and flows of rap, funk beats and the harmonies and choruses of a pop or contemporary rhythm and blues record. The best moments come in songs in which Allen is more assertive, such as the electric swing of "Whatever You Wanna Do" or "I Am Your Problem," and in laments like "Friend Zone" or "Think Like You." Allen offers some great turns of phrase, such as "I'm down to my last pair/ So I gotta wash my drawers/ My girlfriend says go commando/ I just got caught in a sex tape scandal" in "Bad Luck." Unfortunately, there also are some trite admonitions to girls who are "in a dangerous love affair/ with the light," but he follows that with a great trumpet solo. This album has more moments like the impressive trumpet solo than it does the cliched lines. Oh, and is the title his phone number? A text to him while listening to the album garnered a reply 15 minutes later. — David Kunian


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