first_imgKung Fu has been tearing up clubs and festivals nationwide for a few years now, their reputation as a tireless groove band is well known coast to coast and most points between. Returning with a brand new record ‘Joyride’, this Northeast fusion-funk machine-gun is primed to take the next step toward their own identity. Despite the obvious showcasing of virtuoso of guitarist/bandleader Tim Palmieri as well as newcomer Beau Sasser on keys, the collection of songs here is much more of a collective band effort; from the group choruses sung in unison to the groove-trains deep in the pocket, Kung Fu is clearly a band that’s all on the same page in 2016. Listen to the album here, and follow along as we break it down:“Daddy D” opens the record with a finely tuned, precision blend of ’80s Minneapolis Paisley Park smelling funk, wrapped up in exquisite, tight production. The undeniably sleek vocals and the Steely Dan styled breakdown make for an exciting start for this Joyride.“Speed Bump of Your Love” is an R&B groove fest, more of that expertly crafted smooth stuff, with Detroit themes, and a rough n’ rugged rhythm at play.“Primetime Rib” is mid-70s jazz-funk, interspersed with Bernie Worrell synth tantrums; this pork is a main course served as full-on dance party. The quintet is blasting off with Headhunters styled fusion-fire; and the group’s formidable energy propels their vessel toward space, before taking a turn south of the border for some salacious shimmy.  “The Get Down” comes out of the gates a sugary dose of pure B3 rare-groove. The big brass heads and a pretty shuffle show some skin- but as usual, only the surface is scratched until the band drops into a nasty next gear.“Gold Coast” is most triumphant, a blast of inspiration and declaration from this band of troubadours. Fusion chops brimming with aggression set against stunning, dreamy yacht-rock bliss, drummer Adrian Tramontano is delivering the bombast as well as the boss tones, with vintage mic’d drums.“Samurai” is brutal, it is fierce, it is relentless, and poetic. This final track is a Fu-opus; a proggy, sludgey, palm-muting orgy. This chunky, diabolical shredfest thankfully comes at the tail end of this roller-coaster Joyride. By the time we’re parked, the album has careened by an array of approaches, influences, colorways and ideas; by and large, Kung Fu succeeds far more often than they do not.It’s clear by the conclusion that Kung Fu has uncorked a promise, a potential to harness and develop a sound, legacy and vision entirely their own. Do not miss them at the “Get Out And Vote For Bernie” benefit coming to Brooklyn, NY this Monday, April 18th, with special guest sit-ins from Jon Fishman, Oteil Burbridge, Natalie Cressman and more! Details here.last_img

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