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Posted on July 31st, 2015 (2:00 pm) by Lucy Xiong

Rock Candy Funk Party isn’t the sexiest name, nor does the band have the sexiest sound, but they do sound "pretty good." The jazz-funk fusion revival group’s latest album, Groove Is King, is undoubtedly enjoyable, but it sounds more like a fun rehearsal session than a jazz album. While this album definitely captures the sound, it misses the soul, and doesn’t necessarily seek to transform or bring more to the genre. While the band has great musical skill, there’s just not enough spontaneity, the music being too clean to feel totally genuine as jazz, funk, or a fusion.

Groove Is King barely does more than replicate the traditional sounds of jazz and funk. There’s something soothing about that simplicity, but it’s easy to tune out. Since this is an instrumental album, there really should be more done melodically to maintain the attention of listeners. The title track melodically regurgitates the sounds of Motown Records while lacking in the essence of groove which arises out of highly spontaneous and insistent rhythms. There is a disappointing predictability to a song so ambitiously named. "Rock Candy" also follows in this predictability while also sounding like Starbucks background music.

In an effort to dilute my criticism, the album does some things right. "East Village" definitely sounds like the East Village; having lived there for four years, this track really got my nostalgia going. The electric guitar is reminiscent of walking down Second Ave on a hazy Saturday afternoon where the sun’s a little too bright for your hungover eyes, but you’re at ease and looking for your next adventure. The genre-blending in "The Tale of Two Bands" is an interesting direction, however it’s not very well-balanced sonically and transitions too sharply between clearly opposing sounds that, like many the other tracks, sound familiar and is largely carried by the guitar. Still, that’s not always a bad thing. This track presents a potentially distinctive sound for the band.

The effort to keep the sounds of jazz fusion alive definitely deserves to be recognized. However, it's even more important to remember that jazz and funk aren't just about a sound, but what happens in a moment of free and original improvisation. On a technical level, the musicians of Rock Candy Funk Party are great, but Groove is King sounds undeniably basic.

Track List:

  1. Introducing the Master of Ceremonies Mr. Funkadamus
  2. Groove Is King
  3. Low Tide
  4. Uber Station
  5. East Village
  6. If Six Was Eight
  7. Cube’s Brick
  8. And Now a Word From Our Fine Sponsors With Mr. Funkadamus
  9. Don’t Be Stingy With The SMPTE
  10. C You On The Flip Side
  11. Digging In The Dirt
  12. Don’t Funk With Me
  13. The 6 Train To The Bronx
  14. Rock Candy
  15. Funkadamus Thanks All The Señors But Especially The Señoritas
  16. The Fabulous Tales of Two Bands
Rock Candy Funk Party - Groove Is King
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

59 / 100
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