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Fat Freddy's Drop - Blackbird Album Review

31 Jul 2013 // A review by Dilemma

After 14 years and only 3 albums, it is safe to say that Fat Freddy’s Drop are very focused and direct with what they do. Blackbird is the newest release from the boys of FFD and, while it has taken so long to get here, it was worth the wait. What was usually grounded in that laid back Aotearoa reggae dub, the new album transforms to a hybrid of soul, techno sonic funk, booming and grinding beats overlaid with brassy raspy lyrics and harmonies.

9 Songs in all FFD encapsulate a diverse array of genres that are ingrained in and unique to NZ music, but with Blackbird they step out of that classic organic smoove sound (smooth groove for those who were wondering) and create something new.

When I first heard the title track live I was magnetised by its more pensive vibe with a horns section that slay the dub beat. 9 minutes in you wonder how a band can hold your attention for so long without the generally reclined FFD sound of the past.

Mother and Clean the house have an air of a modern motown vibe a little more rock to jazz ratio. Then Soldier drops a darker hypno-electronica swirl. Bones is one of those tracks that has an alluring enchantment, a total throw back to the 70’s if Jack Johnson got to collaborate with Stevie Wonder.

If this is the start of a futuristic FFD sound then there is a lot left to explore in this musically uncharted journey. What I am hoping is that the polished studio album gets more spontaneous as the mega-jam sessions FFD are renowned for, kicks off a tour later in September!

Blackbird
View Track Listing
 

About Fat Freddy's Drop

Internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws, seven piece band Fat Freddy’s Drop released their fourth studio album Bays in 2015. Over the last three LPs the New Zealanders have navigated their way from the incubator of sunshine reggae through a colour-saturated field of soul psychedelia before swerving onto a desolate Detroit superhighway at night. It’s a sound that demands to be heard live, a potent mixture of jazz virtuosity and diaphragm-wrecking digital sonics.

These influences have not only been formed by the band’s individual predilections, but also experiences on the road: Fat Freddy’s appearance at Detroit’s Movement festival in 2006 was a watershed moment for the band, fuelled by hearing May’s, Atkin’s and Craig’s stark futurism ricochet off the cold concrete of America’s broken dream. This stoked producer DJ Mu’s love of analog techno, balancing and fusing vocalist Dallas Tamaira’s adoration of soul and reggae with the band’s collective passion for Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Disco, House, Post Punk and Balearic oddities.

For FFD this osmosis begins at the start of a composition. Groove after groove, horn line after horn line is laid down by the entire band in their Wellington-based studio Bays and then edited by trumpeter Toby Laing, DJ Mu and Dallas Tamaira. It’s out of these epic live recordings that they sieve the gold that lies within.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fat Freddy's Drop

Releases

Bays
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Blackbird
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Silver and Gold 12"
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Fat Electric Drop
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Live At Roundhouse
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Dr Boondigga And The Big BW
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
The Camel EP
Year: 2008
Type: EP
Fantastic Voyages Vol. 1
Year: 2006
Type: DVD
Based On A True Story
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Live At The Matterhorn
Year: 2001
Type: EP
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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