What About Me?
Snarky Puppy’s ninth album—the last of five for Ropeadope Records before they launched their own GroundUP imprint—takes a long and winding path before ending up at “Lingus,” easily one of the Grammy-winning band’s landmark achievements and the representative cut par excellence. Cory Henry’s jaw-dropping keyboard solo is central, informed by ’70s fusion à la Chick Corea but endowed with a harmonic logic and surging momentum that mark it as highly individual (Henry would leave the group before Immigrance dropped in early 2019). There’s a studio audience, never shy with hearty applause, which lends We Like It Here the ambiance of a live show, making the band’s clarity of execution all the more striking. The music, except “Sleeper” and “Outlier,” is by bassist and founder Michael League (he cowrote “Jambone” with guitarist Bob Lanzetti). Amid the high virtuosity and technical dazzle is a layer of dirt, with crushing Moog bass parts and raw guitars, airtight horn section parts, and a soulful bedrock groove gained from experience playing actual church gigs in the mid-’00s. More rigorous than a jam band, more poppy and eclectic than a jazz ensemble, Snarky Puppy has always set its own genre-defying terms, never more so than on We Like It Here.