Subtle tensions ignite MMWs exhilarating new album. Theres a tug-of-war between the hipster jazz vibe (tedious in large doses) and the trios frisky delight in playing for the old-fashioned fun of it. New Planet opens with a detached groove, blossoming into an ode to 70s funk, fiery and leisurely at once. Elsewhere, jam-band excess and pop precision collide. With witty piano man John Medeski leading the way, the clean, lean Queen Bee recalls the soulful Memphis instrumentals of Booker T. & the MGs, while the swinging title track echoes Ramsey Lewis exuberant 60s pop jazz. Bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin may be the snappiest rhythm section alive, pulsing yet never pounding. Should the end be near, heres the perfect sound track to ease the pain.