Spring is in the air, and what better way to kick it off than with something high-energy and fun. Kung Fu’s new album “Joyride” is exactly as described – a very fun trip. It’s a funkified journey to some kind of 70’s jazz-fusion time warp, with lots of danceable rhythms and wicked exhibitions of skill and style by this incredibly talented group of players.
First of all, I must say that the drums are absolutely sick. Adrian Tramontano is a monster behind the kit. His extremely fast chops are executed super cleanly and with flair. He’s got some real nice rips in this one, and does it tastefully without completely dominating the sonic landscape. He definitely drives the tempo hard and it sounds so good.
Tim Palmieri on guitar is well known for his blistering solos and his dynamic versatility. He continues to shine on this album, bending minds with emotive leads and a constantly shifting color of sound. Lots of jazz feel, wah-wah and funk chords really mash up the 70’s sound with a modern creative style.
This is the first album with Beau Sasser replacing Todd Stoops on keys. Beau is a legend around the Northampton music scene for his amazing chops and his big smile. Tim and Beau are also members of The Z3, a Frank Zappa tribute that does a great job recreating a similar feel. In fact, I feel like I can hear some of that Zappa flavor in a couple of different motifs on “Joyride”.
Robert Somerville is featured prominently with his sax throughout the album, and shows off some very fun vocals on a handful of tunes. Chris DeAngelis on the bass lays down a real groovy bottom end completing that 70’s crime –drama feel that so many of these tracks have.
The album kicks off hard with “Daddy D”, and never lets off the throttle. It’s just one funk-jazz fusion tune after another, and keeps on moving. There are only 9 songs on the album, but they’re all long, jamming out for a good seven or eight minutes per track. It makes a great party album. Everyone knows people want to dance at the show, and this will keep everybody on their feet.
One of my favorite tracks on this is the finale, “Samurai”. It’s got some real blistering riffs, a fast tempo, and ends the album with a bang. There are some wild rhythm changes and a great thematic element streaming throughout.
Another great track is “Speed Bump of Your Love”. Somerville’s vocals have a great hook and the song just has that magic quality bound to keep you coming back to it. The whole album is a showcase of artistic virtuosity, all done with lots of fun and attitude. It’s definitely great energy for launching your spring into overdrive.
Tom Matthew, Two Ton Music