Falling Up

Open Channel

Although 8traC’s scattered debut lacks musical identity, the quintet at least has a legitimate excuse for the myriad genres found on Falling Up: they hail from Boulder, Colo., a locale that has produced its share of genre-bending bands.

8TraC’s effort to ply all trades, however, has left them master of none. Falling Up drifts between off-course jazz and stagnant funk, Jah-less reggae and hobbled hip-hop, never really harnessing the ensemble’s evident musical talent to a coherent purpose. “All I Know” features vocalist Chantel Mead exhibiting the raw emotive talent of a Motown revue while her supporting musicians wander, leaving her wistfully floating. The appropriately-titled “This N’ That” has the confusing swagger of a disco-laden chorus stuck between verses that recall the potency of the JB Horns. Unfortunately, this muddled fusion buries Mead’s vocal brilliance, an unintentional motif of Falling Up. 8traC’s centerpiece ought to be Mead belting not wafting over groove-heavy hits as on “Let’s Do It,” which effectively channels Chic and Jamiroquai while emphasizing the vocal oomph of 8TraC’s dynamic lead.

8TraC’s wide-open sonic palette offers so many options that Falling Up’s canvass is overcrowded and, consequently, unaffecting. (Jonathan Stumpf)

8TraC plays The Loft Wednesday, March 28 at 10 PM. $5.
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