The album starts off hot with “24/7” and lots of energy right off the bat. The somewhat graphic, playfully narcissistic lyrics are laid over some sexy funk. “Brand New Day” switches gears completely with a laid back groove and smooth, jazzy vocals. The rolling bass in the chorus provides a deft change in texture. The title track, “Funk Life,” simply tells it like it is. The primary lyrics, “I can’t stop, I won’t stop, livin’ the funk life!” embody not just the entire album, but the band as a whole. The tune is led by flange swept guitar swells, tight horns and a driving drum beat, while a massive, sparkling keyboard solo tops it off. “Quick E” gets deep and dirty to close out the first half of the record. The song is primarily instrumental, led by the horns section, and some vinyl scratching is mixed in, which provides more of a modern feel. Highlights include a monster trombone solo in middle, percussive bass and a wailing, harmonic keyboard solo. Finally, a quick drum solo, leads into a blast of deep funk.
“Wake Yo ‘Self” starts off the second half of the album with a deceptively slow intro. The track skyrockets into an even dirtier groove than any of the other tunes. This one is a true banger, featuring staccato horn leads and distorted keys. Another powerful, dreamy and psychedelic keyboard solo takes over the second half of the tune, while the lyrics remind us to open our minds and see the world for what it really is. The seemingly simpler beat of “Nah Brah” kicks up a notch with some crafty syncopation from the drummer at times. Trippy synth tones and waxy, distorted swells complement a gritty guitar solo, followed by an explosion of bold horns. “Mama Feel Good” is just straight ahead funk, reminiscent of classic James Brown. There is no better way to describe it. “Living the Dream” ends the album in a tidal wave of energy. The album closer features massive horns, fast guitar and forceful vocals. After a lengthy, spirited guitar solo, the band leaves room for a nice surprise in the last couple of minutes, but I’ll leave that part for you to find out yourself.
If funk is your thing, then there is no better band for you than Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Funk Life is an excellent addition to the band’s discography, embodying the funk spirits of the past, present and future. The record is the band’s fourth studio album and is their self-proclaimed “best album yet!” I think I agree with them on that one!
Review: Randy Harris
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