Cutting a Funke Outline..
A diversion away from my normal subject matter again, but a good one – and kinda FD-related. For my day job I do quite a bit of driving, which can be a bind but also a great opportunity to absorb music, and this week the postman was especially kind to me this week delivering new albums from both The Outlines and Funke and the Two Tone Baby (the latter of which I forgot that I’d backed as part of a crowdfunding campaign a while ago – so that was a great surprise!).
Both acts are probably familiar to most folk reading a Ferocious Dog themed blog – Funke has shared events with them a number of times, including DogFest and indeed Something to Smile About last month. To my eternal shame whenever I’ve been at events he’s played I’ve either found myself missing it due to getting food (DogFest) or being under extreme influence of alcohol and not really taking it in (Something to Smile About) – only to find my friends absolutely raving about him.
So come Deerstock I fully intend to be in a fit state to appreciate his performance. I’m making no promises though, there’s strange fruit and other goodies at that particular festival! As for The Outlines, well they are fronted by none other than Kyle Peters who was guitarist and vocalist for one song for Ferocious Dog until recently – now along with Martyn Brown on Bass and Dean Hill on drums they are producing some rather awesome punk rock tuneage. I’ve yet to catch them live, I’m looking forward to doing so soon though!
So, Funke first. He describes himself as The One Man Mechanical alt-Blues Band – a great description! Utilising loop pedals, beatboxing, baselines, a guitar, a harmonica and vocals he layers everything together energetically to produce an impossible-to-believe it’s only one man (with the exception of some trombone on Anarchy).. I’m reliably informed that whilst this might be more easily achieved in a studio, it’s replicated impeccably (and sweatily!) on stage too.
On the motorway today I decided that it sounds like what would happen if you got Jack White together with a beatboxer and asked him to come up with a soundtrack for Sons of Anarchy, with a bit of creative input from The Black Keys. That sounds a bit mad, but it’s a tremendous record and all of the above are definitely compliments in my book! My comparisons probably betray my potentially criminal lack of more traditional bluesmen, but I’m going to stick with it! It’s probably the guitar and bluesy sound that brought the TV series to mind, and his voice does remind me of Mr White.
It has its serious moments, but it’s fun as well – I’m always happy with simian-based lyrics, so Not Enough Bonobo ticks that box, starting with a chugging bass line, beats kick in before the guitar layers – but it doesn’t just loop indefinitely, there’s breaks and pauses to change the pace. There’s folkier tracks too like The Boatman and the Thief or I Should’ve Stayed In Bed. I love it – you can easily find yourself letting it loop round without tiring of it for a moment.
I’d heartily recommend availing yourself of a copy when it’s released on 20th July. I’m going to explore his older releases too – and try to be a little bit restrained on the old alcohol intake so that I can actually watch him properly at Deerstock. Or at last go to another gig after if I don’t manage it! Don’t just take my word for it either – check out what Alan Ewart made of it on Louder Than War (much more eloquently than me, too).
Then we move on to The Outlines. Most of you will be familiar with Pocket Full of Madness where Ken got to take a break from lead vocals and Kyle took the mic. I was looking forward to future Ferocious Dog numbers he might pen, but of course that wasn’t to be, but never mind that – we have a new band to get to know… and wow, it’s a powerful start. The album kicks in with Fall to the Drop – a dirty and frenetic bass line, thunderous drumming and power chords with quite melodic vocals boosted with backing from the others at key points.
And it doesn’t let up right the way through the ten tracks – clocking in at a little over thirty minutes in total it’s a real rollercoaster ride. Definitely one where you need to watch out for the speed cameras when you’re listening in the car, it’s heady stuff, and I can imagine being a sweaty mess by the end of a gig – so that’s something to look forward to. Fulsome and raw-yet-refined punk rock which is amazing to think is produced only by a three piece act.
Get yourself a copy – the details of how to do that are in this link here. If you don’t believe me you could listen to a few tracks on their Soundcloud page. All in all, I don’t feel so bad about spending quite so long in the car today – it’s true I have an embarrassment of riches of music I can be listening to on my phone, but it’s especially nice to spend some time discovering and delighting in finding something new to get yer tabs around – albeit in both cases hardly difficult acts for me to find out about, so I’m a little overdue really.
Better late than never!