Dumphastaphunk’s latest offering is definitely phunktastic good news for funk fans without two left feet. The righteous outfit present a set of sharp rhythms in collective playing that’s tighter than an old pair of jeans.
This is the first release in seven years by the funk/R’n’B/soul/New Orleans groove (you name it) merchants and like a prize fighter that’s been in training to become match fit they’ve come out punching, full of effervescent energy.
The set kicks off with the heavy riff of “United Nations Stomp” featuring the very in vogue Marcus King on guest guitar. He makes the most of his spot and unleashes some scintillating licks and a wild solo on top of the heavy backbeat, drums right up there, high in the mix, smashing out the rhythm. The lyrics for the chorus sum up the band’s ethos: “Everybody clap your hands, everybody stomp your feet, everybody move around, everybody sing with me” it’s not Bob Dylan but it’s an infectiously simple message that they provide the soundtrack for. “Make it After All” sounds like Earth Wind & Fire mixed with the Neville Brothers, with super sharp horns providing those good time insertions that are like a clarion call for tired feet to get back onto the dance floor. There’s a super funky slap bass line running through this like an electric current and Hammond organ and piano fighting it out to get some space into the busy sound spectrum.
Bass and drums are well to the floor on “Backwash”, an absolutely belting instrumental with the keys and horns playing a saucily bold melody that you can easily imagine as the opening score of a movie set in a cityscape. Hearing this for the first time the only comparable music that came to mind was Sly & The Family Stone. Sure enough, on close inspection it turns out the band include an updated version of “In Time” by them.
Diving deeper into the box of obscurity (or not, possibly, if you are a 70s funk fan) the band also cover “Let’s Get At It”, a 1975 release by “Blackmail” (who I can’t say I’ve heard of). The band strategically released closing track “Justice 2020” on the eve of the US presidential election which, apparently, became an unofficial anthem of the social justice movement. To be honest, without the accompanying video I’m not sure (the title aside) you’d peg this as social commentary (could be just my lack of attention to lyrics) – the line “someone is powerful, somebody’s tasteless” is accompanied by the clip of that odious moron Trump making fun of a disabled person. Well done them but, that aside, the album is hardly a polemic and can best be summed up as music that puts a smile on your face and which could even tempt the lame to get up and bust some moves, I can only imagine what a blast these cuts would sound like live.
In the absence of live music put this on and have a house party instead (well a small one anyway).
Bluesdoodles rating: Four Doodle Paws Wonderful – Will bring added ENJOYMENT to your collection
1.United Nations Stomp
2. Make It After All
4. Let’s Get At It
5. Where Do We Go From Here
6. Itchy Boo
7. In Time
8. Do You
11. Justice 2020