Since the inception of Soul Unsigned Records in 2008, Phil Driver has dedicated many hours to find the next soul music talent from all over the world - even in the less unlikely places. Funk'N'Stein, the brainchild of lead vocalist Elran Dekel and Guri Alfi (who left to pursue another career), possesses the spirit of funk legends George Clinton & Sly & The Family Stone. Yet this eight-piece group hails from Tel Aviv, Israel. Through various jam sessions, music festivals and appearances on the MTV-like channel Music 24 in their home country, Funk ‘N' Stein built a huge following. After their recorded debut in 2006, Funk ‘N' Stein's exposure extended from Europe to a full-out 2008 Australian Funk Tour. Now inked to Soul Unsigned, primarily known for compilations, Funk ‘N' Stein is only the second act on the label to be featured with their own project; this one entitled Funky Mission.
Ironically, Funky Mission is Funk ‘N' Stein's own compilation of material dating back to their first two releases: Funk ‘N' Stein - The Band and The Next Level. And the choices are all prime original funky and soulful cuts anchored by lively brass and solid rhythm section. The title track and "Dog & Cat" showcase Funk ‘N' Stein's driving funk grooves. Their silky ballads are also worthy, especially "Choose Your Way" and "I Want Your Love," the later track nicely spruced with a string quintet. Slightly detouring from their soul and funk format, Funk ‘N' Stein members are no slouches in their instrumental skills; as evidenced on "If 6 Was 8." Even though his lead voice lacks power, Fekel makes up for it by injecting expressive performances. With Funky Mission, Driver and Soul Unsigned have scored again with another top-notch artist in Funk ‘N' Stein, a group that clearlytakes its old-school soul and funk mission very seriously.
By Peggy Oliver