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Saturday, November 15

Album Review: Earphunk - Sweet Nasty - 8/2014

Sweet Nasty
When you hear “New Orleans,” or “NOLA,” two styles of music come to mind: Jazz and Funk. In their latest studio project Sweet Nasty, Earphunk has taken these two genres and put them in a washing machine, poured some progressive rock in as detergent and sprinkled a bit of dance music for fabric softener. Sweet Nasty was recorded in rural Louisiana at the Studio in the Country, and the band took full advantage of the studio’s spacious area to make the album represent a live Earphunk experience as closely as possible. The quintet consists of Paul Provosty (lead guitar), Mark Hempe (vocals, guitar), Michael Matthews (drums), Michael Comeaux (bass) and Christian Galle (keyboards, organ), but the added expertise of saxophonist Khris Royal (Rebelution, Dark Matter) and trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce, Pretty Lights) helped the band realize its vision for Sweet Nasty.
The album begins with what sounds like an old transistor radio introducing the opening track, “Sunup to Sundown.” The song picks up the band’s groovy feel right off the bat with a catchy lead guitar hook. The bridge gets a bit dirty, keeping things interesting and the listener on his or her toes. Next, the title track, “Sweet Nasty,” busts out some serious funk! This is definitely an appropriate title track for the album, as well as Earphunk’s overall sound. “She Don’t Wanna Hear From You” is the first real vocal track on the album. The deep vocals are reminiscent of their long list of prestigious NOLA funk predecessors and would certainly make them proud. “Check The Pulse” has more of a dance music kind of feel to it. The intertwining guitar and keyboard lines create a mesmerizing aural elation throughout verse, and the heavy chorus and mellow bridges keep the energy flowing in swells.
Primarily a mellow tune, “Pino” is beautiful and laid back, but some parts still get pretty funky and dirty at times. After a building solo, Provosty busts out some of his best technical guitar work of the album. “Saura” brings back the dance music feel with a pounding four-to-the-floor drumbeat. The guitar harmonies are almost dissonant, but just barely fit well together, making for an interesting touch on the ears. The half time chorus adds some extra flavor to the structure. “Phine” is by far the dirtiest tune on the album. The Daft Punk-style vocals only add to the dirtiness and make the track even funkier, evoking the disco-funk feel of early electronica, while still letting the listener know that a full, live band is playing. “The Multiverse” is a short track (less than 2 minutes), acting sort of like an interlude. Here we see more of a rock feel than the rest of the album, led by screaming lead guitar. “Beautiful” follows up, keeping the rock feel going for the intro, but letting the instrumentals flow out to match the lyrical theme perfectly in the verse. It is an aptly named tune for this roller coaster of fluorescent harmonies and raging choruses. The jazzy, ambient “Ambin” sets the stage for the progressive closing track “Lippy.” The final track’s swirling build kicks into half time with screaming keys leads, before landing into a mellow outro to finish up the album.

Overall, Sweet Nasty is a great album from a constantly improving group of musicians.  The band certainly succeeded in capturing the essence of a live setting, and the songwriting shows an uncanny sense of maturity and musicianship. Head over to Earphunk’s website now and download Sweet Nasty for free!
Words: Randy Harris 
3 outta 5 GlowSticks!
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