This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
Analog Son is Denver’s premier showcase of local funk talent. In the creation of the band’s previous three albums, founders Jordan Linit and Josh Fairman have approached their music with a rotation of more than 30 musicians to nail their sound. On Funky Mother, in addition to Fairman on bass and Linit on guitar, they’ve featured Devon Parker and Ashley Niven on vocals, Eric Luba (keyboards), George Horn (drums), Will Trask (percussion), Mike Chiesa (tenor saxophone) and Gabe Mervine (trumpet) to serve as more permanent members. In addition to them, the new album highlighted Shane Endsley of Kneebody, Jeff Franca of Thievery Corporation, Parris Fleming of The Motet and Nick Gerlach of Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics. Additionally, the album is the band’s first release on Color Red, a new conglomerate of entertainment production, started by Eddie Roberts of the New Mastersounds.
Straight out of the gate, the album leads a fire into their groovy listing with the instrumental “Cti” that sets the tone for the throwback funk collection. The talented Ashley Niven offers the sultry and breathless voice that has become one of our city’s favorites in “Ugly Mug,” a track that swims through an entrancing melody to a seductive breakdown. Placing “Puppified” next assists in the upholding of keeping the initial tracks dedicated to an upbeat, rocking sound that keeps the listener captivated and ready to buckle in for the next nine pieces.
Funky Mother shows a true devotion to the ’60s and ’70s style of funk music, especially with the use of a great horn section. “Top Hat” and “Got to Get Down” kick that exact notion off, creating a sweaty mental dance party that is sure to come during the live rendition. In “Got to Get Down,” it is also the call-back lyrics that also generate an imaginative setting of bumping rumps with fellow dance-party-funk-fans, much like what surely went down at Funky Mother’s release party on September 28 at Cervantes’ along with Matador! Soul Sounds, Quantic, Congo Sanchez and The Color Red All-Stars featuring members of Sunsquabi, Thievery Corporation.
The second half of the tracklist doesn’t give up on the principle laid out in the earlier tracks, with the percussion in “Boom” keeping a beat much like a ticking time bomb, powering a rhythm through the speakers. On “Give More,” aside from the ever infectious beat, it is again the lyrics that stand out. “The beauty’s in the meeting of the minds / you try to give me something that I like / and we see each other’s ultraviolet light / and we fight to give it all another try.”
There is no low or stagnant point in this album, but if there was in the second half, it is “Funk Back” that brings the tempo back to full funk speed. The fast rifts of the bass make it impossible to prevent one’s head nodding and toes tapping until Funky Mother dips its toes into a more relaxed flow with “Greens.” The slackened beginning is just a front, however, that leads into a peppy breakdown from the keys and horn. The bassline in “Another Breakdown” is the true “to-die-for-moment” on the album, as it sparks a rambunctious rage in the middle of the track over a fury of hand drums. Closing out the funk collection is the steady, but not slow eruption that is “Sliders,” with its blowout use of all sounds on deck concluded much like the end of a live show.
The album in its entirety brings with it excitement as to where the live performance of it will go. It does not look like there are any indications of a live show date soon, but these cats are sure to be shaking down the house in no time.