Funk You has shared their debut album, Apparitions, showing off an amazing confidence and impressive diversity from this Augusta, GA based collective. The dynamics that singer Gavin Hamilton, guitarist Evan Miller, keyboardist Will Foster and the rest of the band display on the album is truly marvelous. Over the course of the eleven tracks, the band shows such seemingly effortless competence in so many distinct styles that you start to wonder if they have a few extra members hiding behind a curtain somewhere.
The band has generously offered us a full stream of the album to share with you funkophiles of the world, so tune in below:
Jam out with the album, and follow along with our own review of the release below:
From the very first blast of the opening track, “Resolution,” the listener is pulled in by the invitingly familiar blast of horn laden soulful funk that greets them like a welcoming friend. As is often the case with funk, the lyrics speak to the mind with a higher purpose, calling for equality and compassion while the music itself speaks to a more physical part of the body, urging boogie time on the floor. The next steps on the band’s musical journey around the world finds a fiery guitar lead and gypsy-esque tilt-a-whirl feel rolls around the sonic landscape in the song “Ghost For Me,” rising to an organ break that would fit in the most majestic cathedrals ever constructed.
The musical travelogue continues as Funk You takes you “Drifting” through a lazy, calypso infused intimate journey between two lovers. When the clapping hands and popping horns burst joyously into a wild series of flourishes there’s a call to the dance floor that’s practically irresistible. With their musical bonafides already impeccably established, Funk You starts to build upon the many facets they’ve displayed by delivering one of the best songs of the disc, “She’s So High.” The band crafts a powerful, mature and sultry song that commands attention. Through dramatic tempo shifts that go from the depths of a sexy piano and sax interlude to brash brass punctuating a passionate call and response between Hamilton and an enticing guest singer distill the very essence of attraction and seduction into sonic form.
Capable of creating wide open spaces to let concepts and sounds stretch out as easily as a runaway locomotive, Funk You shows great insight in how to use a concept without overusing it. Miller’s guitar work has an element of the majestic to it in his solos for songs like “Your Soul,” but he regularly pulls back to sparse leads and funky rhythm sections. Achingly simple piano leads alternate with sky high organ fills from Foster, while Gavin Hamilton imparts the same amount of evocative emotional resonance in everything from a whisper to a shout. More impressive than what they can do separately, it’s when the band moves as one, united seamlessly in motion, whatever the pace, that moves them above and beyond what music fans have come to expect from funk based bands.
On the album’s closing track, “Ghost For You,” the band keeps the paranormal theme that has pervaded Apparitions’ compositions lyrically, connecting the nature of haunting to an obsession in a very insightful manner. All the most engaging elements are called back for one last hurrah, as “Ghost For You” rises and falls in ever shifting ways, like an infinite variety of waves crashing against the shore of consciousness. The inevitability of the manic acceleration of the song’s finale was preordained by the amazing momentum built up throughout the piece, and the silence in the moments after the last note fades has a very real edge of sorrow that such an enjoyable ride is finished.
With Apparitions, Funk You has moved well beyond any expectations the music world had set for them, promising much for them in the years to come. They’ve given the world a clutch of songs that elevates the spirit and feeds the soul, while rarely not also giving the toes something to tap along with. Though it’s hard to predict the future, even with the help of some Apparitions, if the effort and talent shown on this album is any indication, Funk You will be casting inescapable incantations for many years to come.
Apparitions is due out April 22nd, and you can find more information about the band on their official website. The group also has some exciting appearances coming up soon, including a Sweetwater 420 Festival after party/album release show on April 22nd, and a performance at the fest proper on April 23rd.
Also, don’t miss this funky bunch when they hit the Augusta Common to open up for the James Brown Band, as part of the James Brown Birthday Bash on May 3rd. With an amazing ensemble featuring players from Brown’s actual band, as well as special guest spots from haron Jones, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Ty Taylor (Vintage Trouble), Chris Rob (Nasty Delicious), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), and more, this is one night that should not be missed!
Tickets and more information can be found here.
Check out the credits for the album below: