September 11, 1978 12:00 PM

The Brothers Johnson

The Brothers—Louis (basses, guitars, vocals) and George (lead guitar)—are one of the most popular R&B acts, mixing disco-pop and harder funk. Clearly, the hard stuff’s their strength, and with Quincy Jones’ tasty brass arrangements and uncluttered production, numbers like Mista, Cool and Ride-O-Rocket and the instrumental Streetwave are all strongly percussive (Louis is a superb bassist). But when the Brothers get mellow they tumble from Funky Mountain High into a swamp of cliché disco-pop. There are lifeless ooohs and ahhhs, waxy string arrangements and lyrics of limited beauty. A sample, from a fast song: Ain’t we funkin’ now ah ha ah ha / Ain’t we funkin’ like you like it. Sample from a ballad: Time will measure / All the pleasure / Don’t be shy / Oh how time can fly. Actually, it kinda drags.

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