Rock Candy Funk Party - Groove Cubed

Out Now Via Mascot Records

Wes O’Neill


There are no rules in music. Gone are the days where many artists or bands adhered to perceived rules, in fact you’d have to hark back a long way to find one. Rock Candy Funk Party are the epitome of mixing genres, styles and production to this effect with the emphasis always on the groove. Their first 2 albums adeptly demonstrated this with the first “We Want Grooove” being very late-night-smoky-bar jam led leading to the addition of disco elements to the second and more overt production values in “Groove is King”. Talisman drummer and producer Tal Bergman says that the main goal for ‘The Groove Cubed’ was “As always to say something different. This band is a perfect vehicle to make music in unorthodox ways that crosses different genres.”


It’s apparent from opening track “Gothic Orleans” with its soft subtleness leading to a guitar crashing end, provided by Joe Bonamassa (yes, the very one) and Ron Dejesus, that a fusion of styles and techniques will be prominent throughout. This is exemplified in the following “Drunk on Bourbon on Bourbon Street” which features some very intriguing guitar melodies that are different to what you will have heard elsewhere. Different is difficult for some wanting an immediate fix, but the more you listen, the more you’ll become familiar with the vibe and the lushness that RCFP bring to the party.


“In the Groove” kicks straight into what these cats are all about. Mike Merritt’s slick bass counterpointed with the keyboard wizardry of Renato Neto and Tal’s prolific drumming (shining through on “Mr Funkadamus Returns and he is Mad”) propel the song with a vigour and strut that it’s hard to not be drawn into moving to it. A blistering yet tasteful solo from that Joe guy features - the play between Ron and Joe is all killer no filler throughout the album. This again rears up in the later track “The Token Ballad” and juxtaposed by Renato’s spacey synth playing.

The most instantly accessible tracks are “Don’t Even Try It” and “I Got the Feelin’” which both feature vocalists, a first for RCFP. No ordinary vocalists that is - Vintage Trouble’s stellar frontman Ty Taylor on the former and the wonderful Mahalia Barnes who die-hard Bonamassa fans will know of from his solo tours being one of the super talented backing vocalists on the later. Both tracks are perfect for any party playlist with “Don’t Even Try It” evoking Prince and good time dance elements with “I Got the Feelin” reminiscent of the great funk/soul tunes of Betty Davis. Play these tracks back to back before a night out and you’ll be good to go.


With song titles “This Tune Should Run For President” and “Two Guys and Stanley Kubrick Walk Into a Jazz Club” (this cut features a perfectly placed lounge area in between the intensity) you know that RCFP have a sense of humour where each song has a different flavour to the last or the next. Flavours to be savoured and revisited to pick out other hints of colouring, style and panache which this band have in spades with all members being able to play their cards equally. The album closes with the fun and playful “Ping Pong” which wouldn’t be amiss on The Ren and Stimpy show.


If you’re after an album by world class musicians that all bring something different, yet just as vital and fun to the party, you’ve come to the right place. After all the band's motto is “There are no rules, just expect the unexpected.”


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