Published Mar 24, 2015God Made Me Funky's latest LP is simultaneously vintage and futuristic, as if the Toronto troop soundtracked a deliberately cheesy '80s sci-fi flick.
The album, named Funky Fly 'N Free, begins with a warp-speed-tempo title track. Its electro percussion reverberates like a lightsabre. Phatt Al, the band's MC, provides a fittingly retro sci-fi themed verse, with lines like, "If you're havin' a rough time today at all, forget postin' on Facebook, gimme a call." It's an extra terrestrial disco jam. The album's second tune, "So Complicated," is infused with synths that pulsate like neon lights, as singer Dana Jean Phoenix ruefully coos nonsensical space-age lyrics that make this New Wave suited for the Milky Way.
"Digital Life" unfortunately falters; instead of using disco as a muse, it wallows in that era's every cliché. "Rollacoasta Baby" is even worse, mainly due to Phoenix's lyrics, which are overly sentimental and generic. The instrumentation is a bit better, featuring some thwacking artificial percussion and wind chime synths that are primed for AM radio, but it's still more likely to make listeners doze off than hum along.
It's a shame that the album's sagging back half weighs down an otherwise out of this world album, but there are some salvageable tunes later on. "Back 2 Da Future," for instance, blasts off with a gravity defying funk groove and is elevated higher by Phatt Al, who rhymes "antiquated" with "hated" before going into a socially conscious verse about the homophobia and bigotry he has faced in the past. Such high points are not only upbeat but also inspiring, making GMMF's latest a fitting if uneven soundtrack for a funky futuristic utopia. (New EmPire)