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The Funk Ark

From the Rooftops

(ESL Music; US: 14 Jun 2011; UK: 20 Jun 2011)

Shake your booty or go home

Attention funk lovers: The Funk Ark does not lie. Indeed, the Washington, DC-based ensemble, led by keyboard maestro Will Rast, and consisting of ten to twelve musicians, depending on the tune, is a relentless funk-and-groove production unit. From the opening strains of “A Blade Won’t Cut Another Blade” to the infectious closing riff of “Power Struggle,” the band never lets up. From the Rooftops features no less than ten note-perfect tracks of instrumental badassery, with a lot of wah-wah guitar, a razor-sharp horn section and gurgling organ aplenty. Oh and there’s bass and drums too. Influences range from Afro-beat to some Latin flavor, but the overriding vibe is big-band, booty-shaking funk.


If anything, the album plays to its strengths a little too consistently.  After a few tracks, a listener might be forgiven for wanting something a little, y’know, different. It’s easy to imagine this as the soundtrack to a dance party or a late-night road trip; as motivational music it suits the mood perfectly. It’s hard to imagine anyone sitting down to give this careful, repeated listens, though.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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