Crown City Rockers are a bit of a hidden gem from the Bay Area as a group with live instrumentation. You might not be familiar with them because it has taken them four years to follow up their last album. You might be familiar with member Headnotic and his work with The Mighty Underdogs, but otherwise they’ve probably been overlooked if you’re not from the region.

With their style, I don’t see them knocking anyone out with this album, but I do see it creeping into a lot of people’s rotations. With plenty of synth work, smooth bass lines, and percussion, their love of early ‘80s R&B and hip hop is evident. Rashaan Ahmad has a deliberate and smooth delivery on the mic. His style is like what I would imagine Azeem would sound like if he was more of a party emcee. And while there isn’t a particularly flashy moment where she gets to shine, Kat 010 lays down great textures on the keyboards that establish atmosphere for the whole album.

The big complaint I have with the album is that after opening with “Break,” which hits hard and will definitely make people get on the dance floor, it never returns to that level. Not that anything that follows it is necessarily bad, it just never hits that peak again that makes you want to crank up the volume. There are some smooth and sexy jams to be sure, and some nice laid-back grooves. I just wish there was more variance. They hint at it, just never fully reach it.

That said, I still enjoy this album, and as a band Crown City Rockers play really well together and form a tight unit. Hopefully they’ll keep working and developing and not disappear for another four-year drought.