Soul Strut 100: # 79 - McNeal & Niles - Thrust

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,779 Posts
edited April 2012 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 79 - McNeal & Niles - Thrust

Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.


???It makes Prefuse-73 sound inconsequential???, said one of my record obsessive friends after hearing McNeal & Niles ???Thrust???. And if there???s one thing that every music nerd loves hearing, it???s an album that turns everything they thought they knew on its head! For once, it???s not hype: this album is a true anomaly. Not much is known about it, other than it was custom recorded in 1979 and released in obscenely tiny numbers with an easily overlooked generic sunset cover. You???re unlikely to find out anything more about the album, because the liner notes focus entirely on its almost fictional rarity and the chance encounter that led to its re-release. This is disappointing, considering that availability of an album and who found it are arguably the least consequential parts of its history.

But none of that matters once you drop the needle on the first track. The opening ???Ja Ja??? is especially brilliant. It layers laid-back groove on top of laid-back groove, redefining sublime. In fact, the whole album is full of odd proto-electro beats, straight-up delivered with just the right tinge of funk. Keyboards provide a languid wash of chords that make you want to go barefoot. These carefully crafted songs also win points for being unabashedly goofy, like a more hip-hop version of Stereolab. The duo???s uncanny sense of repetition is made more palatable by their restrained musicianship. Most of the time there???s nothing more playing than solid 4/4 drums with synthesizer and guitar or bass, which keeps the tone gloriously under-produced.Slap bass and cheesy female vocals threaten to tip the scales into disco territory, but even these dips are unexpectedly left-field: think ???disco not disco??? like ESG or Arthur Russell. ???Thrust??? probably sounded like an out of place sell-out attempt in 1979, but now sounds eerily prescient. Chocolate Industries couldn???t have done a better job finding an album that sounds like a direct forefather if they faked it entirely!

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  • Essential!

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    Never even heard of this before right now.

  • YemskyYemsky 709 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Never even heard of this before right now.

  • Please to change the cover to the real cover!!!!

    b/w, in my opinion this record is an ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL. One of my top 5 records of all time in the collection.

    Also, the last track on Thrust Too and the other 3 records where the added the shitty saxamaphone have heat as well.

  • jjfad027jjfad027 1,594 Posts
    Incredible LP. I'm very thankful that I found about this via Soulstrut. I thought it would be higher on the list honestly. Top 25 for sure.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,779 Posts
    Anibal from Detroit gave me a beat up but playable copy of this for FREE a few years a go. Top notch dude!

  • yeah, where the fuck is anibal? Thats my dude!

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,779 Posts
    4YearGraduate said:
    yeah, where the fuck is anibal? Thats my dude!

    Facebook casualty

  • leonleon 883 Posts
    Bought it when it was re-released and played it on the (semi) regular ever since. Such an awesome album!
    Get it if you don't have it... whether on cd, vinyl, MP3 or toiletpaper: just grab it.
    This is also their best album by far IMO.

  • When I got my first copy of this, I felt like I had been digging my whole life just to find one record that sounded like this. Perfection in the raer game this is. Can't speak highly enough about it. Shout out to Cool Chris for hipping me to it way back when.

  • yuichiyuichi Urban sprawl 11,331 Posts
    Copped the reish of this. Real dope album. And worthy of its place on the list.

  • disco_chedisco_che 1,115 Posts
    I only knew "Summer Time" so far and didn't have a clue about the album being this rare and sought after. Just downloaded the whole thing and had a first listen. Seems great but not diversified enough to make me want to listen the whole album over and over again. A 45 with "Summer Time" and "Punk Funk" would be perfect.

  • LoopDreamsLoopDreams 1,195 Posts
    :goat: :goat: :goat:

    My reaction the same as LRadiomc too, love it to death. Thrust Too Definitely has some good stuff as well, though not as killer as the first. They missed their stride on the third one though, starting with the title: Thrust: Re-entry .

  • SoulOnIceSoulOnIce 13,027 Posts
    this record was definitely THEE GRAIL around the time I joined SS. like all the jokes were about "and then you found a sealed THRUST, right?" and I seem to remember someone megatonsonning a finds thread with one back then. was there a Thrust in the original let a heatrock loose?

  • HorseleechHorseleech 3,830 Posts
    Really wish the re didn't have that hideous cover.

  • Horseleech said:
    Really wish the og didn't have that hideous cover.

  • BallzDeepBallzDeep 612 Posts
    word around town is dante found this for $1 in iowa city.

  • ReynaldoReynaldo 6,054 Posts
    It was cool until someone found that whole box of 'em.

  • MiddleDeanMiddleDean 68 Posts
    I found a copy of this at the Eugene show this year.
    Such a special record, Grateful for days....

  • Hotsauce84Hotsauce84 8,450 Posts
    Thank you SoulStrut for turning me onto this record (bought the reissue back then) and thank you again SoulStrut for reminding to listen to the whole album again (all I ever listen to is "Summertime").

  • DuderonomyDuderonomy Haut de la Garenne 7,785 Posts

  • djwaxondjwaxon 411 Posts
    Is there any chance anyone could hook me up with a wav of Ja Ja?
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