CBDB – Joyfunk is Dead
The sound of the band CBDB is described as one that is “filtered through the waters of Alabama’s Black Warrior River… from the muddy depths bringing to light a crisp, revolving blend of progressive rock, funk, jam and fusion. That’s a tall order musically, one that CBDB attempts to fulfill with their new record, ‘Joyfunk is Dead.’ The six-piece piece band has already had significant success, especially in the arena of content streaming a la services like Spotify. Their sophomore record is an ambitious endeavor as it attempts to personify a “progressive blend of funk, rock, jazz, and reggae with solid lyrical content and tight musical arrangements.” Do they stand up to the task?
The opening of ‘Joyfunk is Dead’ is dramatic, to say the least, with ‘Stuffed Avocados.’ There’s a lot going on in this sound. In fact, there’s so much going on that it takes a few run throughs of the songs to fully decipher what you’re hearing. The band lays claim to an immense variety of genres and they manage to pull each of them off quite well. It’s progressive and intensely funky.
‘Autocorrect’ boasts a mean blues arrangement that the rest of the band builds upon. It’s very different than the opening of the record, showcasing an incredible amount of versatility early in the game. ‘Pschabango’ toys with electronic influence elegantly conjured around magnificently epic vocals and instrumentation.
Saying that ‘Joyfunk is Dead’ is a complex record would be an understatement. By the fourth track, you’ve been funkified, outdanced, and hard rocked. ‘Emperor’ may be one of the most powerful tracks on the collection; the vocals are borderline gospel-like. The band is testifying to funk with their superb musicianship and a sweet brass section. More than anything, CBDB is a true funk outfit.
‘Airman’ is one of the most intelligently orchestrated songs on the album, ruggedly cascading through your speakers into deafening madness. ‘Seas,’ in particular, is very enjoyable as well. The production is actually a bit subdued, perhaps even sublime, which contrasts to the rest of the collection. The closing track, ‘Numbers,’ employs a lengthy soundscape that devolves (or evolves?) into madness quicker than Lou Reed’s ‘Heroin.’ It’s absolutely brilliant, though, and closes out the record with unimaginable tact.
‘Joyfunk is Dead’ is one of the most exciting independent rides in recent memory. It accomplishes the difficult goals that the band set out for themselves in spades making it a truly memorable experience. The whole record is a Phil Spector-like ‘wall of sound’ that hits you like a freight train. It’s the epitome of contemporary, experimental, genre-defying funk music that’s chock-full of soul.
Review by Brett Stewart