JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound


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Enveloping stage presence and palpable charisma. – Rolling Stone

Of the song “Howl”: “hair-raising guitar chords and piano flourishes over a bubbling bass groove, while frontman Brooks sings of dissolved love in a voice that's as seductive as it is foreboding.” – Rolling Stone

JC Brooks looks and performs like a cross between Chuck Berry and H.R. of Bad Brains in their primes, but his skintight R&B and post-punk soul upend expectations of a retro act. – Washington Post

The band’s third full-length, Howl shows the band’s maturation while staying true to the introspective lyrics and big sound for which they’re known. – Paste

Howl is a soulful 50-minute experience that will rock listeners to the core. – Aquarian Weekly

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound exemplify what previous Chicago soul musicians like Sam Cooke, the Five Stairsteps, The Dells, and countless others have projected — a sense of community encapsulated and illustrated through emotional profundity that yearns for expression and admiration. – Indie Shuffle

Howl gives the listener the sense that the band has not only matured with their song writing, but have understood how to take ownership of a sound that is singularly theirs while uniquely Chicago. – Indie Shuffle

The recording features group compositions, more personal songwriting and a wider sonic palette than the band's earlier efforts. The result is a mix of old school soul and funk grooves with lyrics that portray the complexities of modern life and relationships. – ASCAP

They've taken their self-described post-punk soul sound and added dark layers alongside the soulful grooves. – CBC.ca

Howl, goes farther in rejecting the strictures of vintage by-the-booksism by exploring the ways other revivals — especially the New Wave soul of the 1980s — have responded to the genre. At once a confessional break-up album and a critique of the whole concept of telegraphed heartache, Howl is soul with its jacket off. – NPR Music

Although there’s plenty of melody in the Uptown Sound’s arrangements, it leans more towards Stax than Motown, occasionally with a punk-like amount of unbridled intensity. The band’s third album, Howl, is a gritty and vulnerable album of R&B cuts that sound like a gritty soul take on Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker. – KEXP Seattle