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There are so many reasons to tease the poor Delta 72. There is that irritating, overdone martini-era style thing. There is the generic-as-hell faux-Blue Note album art. There are the grating press-kit comparisons of the quartet to the likes of John Lee Hooker, the sort of comparisons that don’t quite do the Al Jolson but that nonetheless make my PC stomach queasy. Throw in a changed lineup and the band’s ditching of D.C., and there’s more than enough material to be spun into a grade A dis by any critic worth his black turtleneck and his receding hairline. Alas, I’m not balding and I don’t wear turtlenecks. And the Delta 72’s second album kinda, well, rocks. The 11-song offering features the same R&B grooves and cool Farfisa sound that characterized the earlier The R&B of Membership. But The Soul of a New Machine goes a lot heavier into purely instrumental offerings, which range from full-tilt crunch (“Introduction (Part 2)”) to hokey James Bond-soundtrack style (“The Cut”). On the other hand, tracks like “It’s Alright” and “Go Go Kitty” straight-out burn. So turn off your brain, disable that inner critic, by all means ignore the ethics of the fake-old-fashioned poorly recorded vocal tracks, and kick out the jams.—Michael Schaffer