International music man Captain Planet is back on the scene with an LP that is sure to make even your great-grandmother shake her butt a little. The Captain’s appropriately titled debut album, Cooking Gumbo, is an eclectic musical mix of cultures. With tunes inspired by countries like Japan, Brazil and Puerto Rico, Cooking Gumbo is an affectionate, upbeat love letter.
The album is meticulously styled, with songs of similar heritage and sound never placed right on top of one another. Instead, the Captain allows the audience to ride the wave of various cultures without getting bogged down by one genre and gives us the feeling of being in a huge pot of harmonious gumbo.
Album opener “Ram Ad Infinitum” starts with a few choice words from an unidentified woman followed by humming and Hindu-inspired drums, and then the beat drops. The track has an old-school Wu-Tang feel, and it is easy to visualize Kanye West’s Chicago accent rapping over it. Satisfied with track one but not sure of the direction of the album, venture a little further and find Captain Planet demonstrating that he can definitely get shit cooking— and there is enough food for everyone. “Get You Some” enlists soulful songstress Brit Lauren crooning out the lyrics “We don’t have to settle down and marry / I don’t need no time for wedding bells” over a Latin dance beat. Her voice coupled with horns equals instant attempt to salsa like a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.
By the time the catchy Afro-beat on “Lagos Speedways” with Fredy Massamba enters your eardrums, you have almost danced your way through the entire album. Offering a mix of Africa, house, electro and a race car, Captain Planet is delivering stellar music for your melodic tastebuds. Cooking Gumbo is truly an international journey with no foreign food poisoning or allergic reaction slowing your voyage. It is just smooth sailing and smooth beats.