Real R&B

SNAP! (Dynamic Imperial Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

One unfortunate side effect of the R&B-pop collision has been the loss of the R&B band (as in, a group that plays its own instruments). Everything these days is so programmed and remixed that the actual musicianship is at best an after-thought and at worst a quaint homage to the pre-computer age.

This is what makes bands like Louisville's S.N.A.P. sound both distinctively retro and refreshingly new. The group is deeply rooted in the R&B/funk sound of the 1980s, churning out songs like "Groove Me" and "Silly Games" that call to mind the best of that era's hit-makers like Kool and the Gang and Keith Sweat. Add to that the sultry vocals of Paula Yarbrough on "Without Your Love" and "Part Time Love," and you'll see why the label "old school" was invented for groups like S.N.A.P.

Doug Sharpe's bass lines and Lawrence D. Nannie's drumming lay down a funky foundation for the band's dance-floor jams. The tight rhythms and wide variety of instruments show the band's commitment to the integrity of the music they are making.

While modern R&B gets increasingly digitized, S.N.A.P. is keeping the focus on the bottom line: making music.