Reviewed by Andrew Hickey on 15 October 2012
Rated 7 out of 10
Key Track: Afraid Of Heights
In this ever changing musical climate there’s nothing quite as reassuring as hearing and witnessing a finely tuned live band.
The celebrity grandstanding and overreliance on studio trickery of today’s RnB and hip hop in particular makes any organic elements such as live instrumentation a breath of fresh air.
Hailing from New York, The Ill Funk Ensemble clearly has that chemistry and each member of this five piece has a musical pulse running through their bodies. Together since 2006, second album The Duality is the culmination of countless road trips, live shows, and recording sessions.
Their approach of combining traditional elements with modern sounds is typified by opening track ‘She’s Fearless’, which finds vocalist Jermaine Wells crooning over heavy drums and somewhat ominous synthesiser.
The social commentary of ‘Different Day’ is complimented by a sound normally associated with southern rap, which is reworked here with live instrumentation. Guest vocalist Michael Gaydusek drives the subject matter home with his forceful rapping.
The tempo picks up on ‘Find A Way’, which despite some heavy handed sentiments about society benefits from the thumping percussion, orchestral strains and vocals from guest Steven Atkinson.
There are times where The Duality can linger into dry mundane territory, while there are also more than enough thrilling moments from The Ill Funk Ensemble that ultimately delivers something familiar yet fresh that rocks the mind and body.
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