Everybody knows about New Orleans' rich musical tradition – but an even more deeply rooted tradition in the Crescent City is one of perpetual reinvention. It's a city that's been reborn countless times over the course of its multi-cultural history, a legacy vibrantly reflected in its music. With the release of their debut, Dogs, in 2016, Nolatet added their own new twist to the New Orleans tradition. Now the quartet returns with their much-anticipated follow-up, No Revenge Necessary, which takes the music through as many winding turns and colorful pathways as a Second Line parade route. It finds the band getting alternately (and often simultaneously) funky and ferocious, playful and profound, high-spirited and movingly solemn, irreverent, iconoclastic, and tapping into the bloodline that flows through the veins of every New Orleans musician.
The band's musical history pays off in a sonic portrait like "Lanky, Stanky Maestro," which Brian Haas wrote in honor of Johnny Vidacovich and which evokes an explosive barrage of rakish outbursts from the drummer. On the wildly spiraling "Bluebelly," James Singleton tips his hat to the more (post) modern sounds that he was confronted with through bandmate Matt Dillon's work in Garage a Trois alongside drummer Stanton Moore and saxophonist Skerik. Haas' tumultuous "Homer and Debbie" was penned as an ode to two of his five dogs, and more expansively about life and death, youth and old age. Dillon's "Elegant Miss J" commemorates a lost love and the pitfalls that follow when romance meets a life on the road. Landscape was also an inspiration for Haas, who wrote the imposing "Gracemont" under the sway of Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains and the down-home "Pecos Wilderness" while musing on the terrain near his home in Santa Fe, NM.
Then there are the inevitable passions that arise from a world in turmoil and the rebirth that (hopefully) can rise from it, as has happened time and again in New Orleans' beleaguered past. Singleton's "Dike Finger" is his response to Hurricane Katrina, erupting in anger and then giving way to optimism and solidarity. Haas' title track "No Revenge Necessary" casts both a more intimate and a much wider net, sparked by the end of a relationship, but expanding to encompass the divisive times in which we all find ourselves these days.