I first heard Soul Rebels Brass Band in David Simon’s excellent TV show Treme. The song was ‘Drinka Little Poison (4 U Die)’ – a typical example of chaotic, jubilant New Orleans jazz. As a result of this context, I admit I expected Unlock Your Mind to be more of the same, and while the band may play that style of music phenomenally, a whole album of it might get a little tiresome. However, I was surprised to find that the recording was slicker, the band was tighter and the album was one of the most eclectic I’ve ever heard. On the band’s Myspace under ‘Influences’, it says: “EVERYTHING!!!”, and they aren’t kidding; in just one album, the Soul Rebels have managed to squeeze together blues, hip hop, R&B, reggae, Balkan folk, mariachi and jazz - both the New Orleans and more mainstream styles. Soul Rebels Brass Band make music how it should be made - free from fear or obligation, ignoring genre definitions, and following only their own tastes and creative drives.

Unlock Your Mind is nothing short of a revolution: it’s idealistic, loud, passionate and harbours a complete disregard for convention.

The album opens with one of the happiest songs ever recorded, ‘504’: part New Orleans jazz, part old-style R&B in the vein of Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. And those comparisons are utterly deserved – not only can these guys play brass instruments better than most, but the virtuoso vocal performance makes it difficult not to picture Stevie singing. Next, from out of nowhere, just when you thought you’d figured out what kind of record this is going to be, the Soul Rebels explode into a fantastic (if slightly bizarre) cover of Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’. The strange juxtaposition of traditions, combined with the Fanfare Ciocarlia-esque Balkan folk intro, make it a better, more interesting song than the original.

Other highlights on Unlock Your Mind are the old school hip hop of ‘My Time’, and title track ‘Unlock Your Mind’. The former could easily have been written by Jurassic 5 or Nas (the rhyme, rhythm and phrasing of the Soul Rebels’ raps are as good as any in hip hop today), and the latter actually has more in common with reggae than New Orleans jazz.

So, if you’re like me and you have a metre-length list of albums you want to buy but can only actually afford one, opt for Unlock Your Mind. Chances are the style of music you’re looking for will be hidden somewhere in its 17 tracks and executed with unbelievable passion and precision.