By Pat Gunther
New Orleans’ unmistakably soulful aesthetic has been luring in listeners looking to groove since Satchmo first picked up a trumpet. With musical tastes shifting back to more tangy, dance inspired tracks, the Chocolate City’s very own Earphunk clearly has a keen ear for catchy tunes and tasty rhythms that are coated with that Big Easy vibe people have come to know and love.
Their third studio album, Sweet Nasty, is a progressive and psychedelic rock project with some of the funkiest riffs and tempos anyone in the South has to offer. From the get-go, Sweet Nasty has listeners moving their feet and clapping their hands along to the soulful bass guitar grooves of Michael Comeaux and the captivating keyboard work of Christian Gallé. The quintet, whose innate sense of timing and impressive ability to bounce off of one another’s playing, creates funky and cohesive sounds that blend together into a conglomeration of smooth and fluid tracks throughout the album.
Though these tracks can seem like one long, extended song at times, varying drum fills and differing synth leads add texture and depth to the songs that switch up faster than you can say “sweet nasty.” The album, which clocks in at 1 hour and 11 minutes over the span of 11 tracks, never feels stale – even with certain cuts lasting well over seven minutes in length. In the vain of many progressive rock acts, Earphunk often incorporates passionate, blazing guitar riffs courtesy of Mark Hempe and Paul Provosty that will have you shredding on your air guitar midway through the lead track “Sunup to Sundown.”
The continuity of the album is possibly its biggest strongsuit, as each track feels purposely placed and timed out to fit the 1 hour and 11 minute aural journey that Earphunk takes you on. The lush and vibrant texture and depth of the bass guitar or the dexterous tempos set by Michael Matthews’ brilliant percussion work has become a staple of Earphunk’s funky and often times trippy sound.
As the group gets set to kick off the second leg of their cross-country tour, you can be sure that fans across the nation will be bumping Sweet Nasty for a taste of that soulful New Orleans funk that screams warm weather and tons of fun. Earphunk, who feels and sounds like a more colorful jam band at times, is certainly better in a live setting. So, fans of the group who’ve settled down here in the Red Stick absolutely cannot miss out on their September 5th performance at the Varsity Theatre. In order to get ready for another fall semester filled with football and great weather, hearing the new record Sweet Nasty in a live setting is an absolute must.
Check out Earphunk at The Varsity on Friday, Sept. 5