Named for an Italian musical direction meaning “with spirit,” Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area band that plays soul, psych-rock and R&B as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With charismatic singer Ziek McCarter bringing “the dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show. Founded in 2013 by veteran players with vastly different musical backgrounds, the band quickly became a favorite up and down the West Coast, then across the U.S., and then overseas in places like Japan and the Netherlands. Explorer both builds on the success of Paradise and serves as a travelogue of sorts – a reflection on the two years of nearly nonstop touring that followed their first record’s success. Having proved themselves on an international stage, Con Brio breaks new ground on Explorer, expanding beyond raw energy and retro sounds toward a more contemporary, layered production style, all delivered with road-tested confidence. Ultimately, Explorer is a leap for Con Brio in more ways than one. It’s a big record, with plenty of joy, a few growing pains, and more questions than answers.