Brass bands are an odd one. In most instances, there are no vocals and only a drum kit to accompany the horn onslaught. This means that the rhythms, melodies and most importantly grooves, have to be absolutely spot on. Very few brass albums are rubbish, such is the joyous nature of brass, but to make a really good one is incredibly tricky. Top of the really good category is the truly excellent Word On The Street by the Youngblood Brass Band, which consistently brings together hip-hop beats, funk grooves and unexpected twists and turns throughout. On the other side of the coin, Tombstone, this year's release from the Hot 8 Brass band, was disappointing as it lacked coherency and meandered into relative nothingness far too often.

Without vocals to hold the song structure together, coherency and tightness are key. In the case of Common Decency, Hackney Colliery Band have pretty much smashed it. Obviously, as with all brass albums, it loses its way at times. Such is the narrow scope of just two types of instrument. When it comes down to it though, the good comfortably outshines the bad.

Common Decency boasts several of the band's trademark covers of R&B classics (and 'Empire State Of Mind') but also a largely impressive number of original compositions. Opening track 'A Bit Of Common Decency' stamps the band's authority when it comes to writing original material within seconds. The brooding intro gives way to a big, brash, killer groove. Developing on this sound, 'Dead Dialogue' is the first moment of real, original inspiration. Its groove is implausibly infectious and it shows how the band have adopted the fundamentals of the hip-hop and R&B that they love and injected it seamlessly into their own work. It's pretty irresistible and if you manage to remain stationary whilst listening to it, you've got a heart of stone. It's a straight-up party tune. In contrast, their cover of Goldie's 'Inner City Life' takes things down a more low-key route. It's dripping in sleazy jazz licks and rolling drums, with a dimly-lit, smokey room vibe.

Of the other covers, Kanye's 'All Of The Lights' is an obvious choice considering the prominent brass hook of the original. HCB's version more than does the original justice and involves far less Kanye... interpret that as you will. Equally, 'Empire State Of Mind' also does justice to the original, by retaining the overwhelming soppiness and by being a bit crap.

'Smile For The Webcam' and 'Is Your Love Big Enough' are where the album goes a bit astray. Both are relative nonentities when compared with the brilliance of 'A Bit Of Common Decency' and 'Dead Dialogue'. This is quickly remedied though by 'Superhero Disco'. With guest saxophonist Pete Wareham, it's a real masterclass in brass musicianship. It's got a swing feel to it and it's simply a feel-good track. 'Feel-good' in the acceptable way, not the cheesy way. 'Let's Take It Fast' is further confirmation that the good out-weighs the bad on Common Decency. Its drops are heavy, reminiscent of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and it features some of the finest drumming on the record.

The album's finale is entitled 'Prodigy Medley' and it is exactly that. Running through 'Jericho', 'Out Of Space' and 'No Good', it's a fitting end to the album. This is what the Hackney Colliery Band do best, they take songs and influences, then mould them into a new identity; all whilst retaining the core ideas of what they're working with. With all that beautifully demonstrated, A Little Common Decency is their best work to-date.