Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Putbacks featuring Nai Palm on Hope Street Records
It's thanks to George Clinton and Parliment I have any exposure to funk in the first place. I forget what summer a friend was obsessed with those thift store records and we would end up attemping to put together a terrible funk band writing a conceptual album about funk itself with newly discovered wah pedals. There was something about how goofy and sci-fi Parliment was that made it seem like there were no limits in the genre. You didn't have to know what you were doing anymore than punk if you just really went for it. At least that's what you tell yourself at seventeen. The truth is it's a highly technical genre and The Putbacks are those guys who probably actually went to music academies and have been playing multiple instruments since they were five. It's not something you can take lightly...although it wouldn't be terrible to inject some dirty garage attitiude and fidelity in something that inherently should be.
A-Side's "Spanish Harlem" opens with a massive burst from The Putbacks and Ms. Palm warming the room up before cooly introducing the funk with conga's and a muted wah bass line on this classic track from the '60s with an extensive history. They keeping this bouncing right into the groove with a nice sense of space on the drums, nothing is wrapped too tight, it's all cleanly processed and crisp. Nai has an incredible vocal able to deliver a simple phrase multiple directions, quivering and dynamic, right down to a whisper or belted fioritura. Squarely in that pocket and joined by lots of her own backup it's a real choir by the end of this more than just funk sound.
B-Side's "The Worm" finds The Putbacks front and center, fading into a eastern inspired jangly riff that turns heavy funk with organ stabs and a repeated guitar riff can just sit there and stew while that beat is what makes this impossible not to take notice. They constantly drop things in and out, punching in while injecting a post punk or progressive slant to their path. Hammond and beat is one of those things that sounds so good you want a record, an entire full length record of just that, but The Putbacks make you realize how that would be too much of a good thing and it's only going to kill it like this in the context of the larger track, rising up to that very moment. I'm partial to this side and hope these guys venture out on their own more often.
Get this from Australian label, Hope Street or your local importers.