Radius Funk 2018
Reimagining their magic, American trio set route to ultimate freedom.
Sophomore records are evil beasts, with only so much time to create them and so many expectations to live up to, yet they’re also a chance for restless spirits to break out of initial constraints. And that’s what this band do, cautiously, on the follow-up to 2016’s "Cinematic" by trying to find new ways to structure the pieces they call songs, although there’s not a sliver on vocals attached to memorable tunes. Humming along is inescapable anyway, as all the numbers here feel infectious enough to warrant, alternately, party mood and romantic reverie.
Nothing can define such emotional shift more clearly than “Booze Mop” whose serrated riffs stumble gracefully towards lounge-like harmonies and heavy worry, while “Bliss Rider” has implemented the method depicted in the group’s name in a rather spectacular manner. But if the delicately twanging “Mystic Train” rolls unhurriedly past picturesque vistas, “Hula Girl” engages in a localized looping of paradisiacal licks, and “Suspended Animation” aims to entrance the listener with its rhythmic vortex and relaxed flurries of notes.
Fusion fills might have been removed from the title track, and it does flow in a song fashion, but this is where the ensemble sound most liberated, “Luck Of The Night” sealing their hermetic vastness which will expand immensely once the ripple and tide behind “Distant Shores” begin to up the amplitude without losing sight of lyrical angle. Still, “Groove Monkey” doesn’t serve up the punch one would hope for, despite a nice does of slapping applied to the number, so the finale seems quite anticlimactic – yet open to fresh possibilities. That’s the voodoo spell to look forward to on the trio’s next adventure.