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Review: Lil Pookie & the Zydeco Sensations, Just Want To Be Me

Lil Pookie & the Zydeco Sensations
Just Want To Be Me
[Maison de Soul (2011)]

Lil Pookie‘s first release in more than a decade not only represents the comeback of a former child prodigy but a renewed sense of vigor for a talented frontman. Though his band name is listed as the Zydeco Sensations, for all practical purposes, Pookie is the Sensations. He wrote all 15 songs, tracked all vocals and played all instruments—accordions, bass, keys, and drums—while temporarily living in the Bay Area. The only other contributor is producer Andre Thierry, an undisputed West Coast zydeco monster in his own right, who knocked out the searing guitar licks. The end result is a tight, modern zydeco record that’s 100% dance-oriented without the typical wannabe strays into rap, hip-hop, or contemporary R&B. Of course, these styles influence Pookie’s urban sound, but overall it’s still fresh enough that it’s obvious he invents within the framework (note the mesmerizing staccato patterns on “Find My Woman”), rather than chases the crowd. The pace is consistently aggressive but varies texturally with the alternating of punchy single-row and gliding triple-row accordions, the sprinkling of dancing keys (“Teddy’s Club”), club DJ voice overs, and different densities applied to the arrangements. A fashionable comeback to say the least.

—Dan Willging (Denver, CO)

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