Funkatized - Electric Chicken Club (2012)

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    One of the more difficult tasks in music is for a performer to evolve musically while managing to remain recognizable to long time fans. This is often a catch 22 proposition. Critics often dismiss groups that stick to tried and true formulas as not serious or creative. On the other hand, fans can punish musicians who change too much by not buying their music. DeeGee and EnBee, the two driving forces behind the German outfit Funkatized, appear to found the right balance. The two roll out their changes over multiple albums. So in 2008, DeeGee and EnBee released Funkatized, an album consisting largely of Euro-friendly instrumental dance tracks. Two years later, the duo dropped Illegal Copy, a record that featured some electro dance but leaned more toward funk, R&B and acid jazz. Illegal Copy also included vocals in a very limited amount.

    One of the more difficult tasks in music is for a performer to evolve musically while managing to remain recognizable to long time fans. This is often a catch 22 proposition. Critics often dismiss groups that stick to tried and true formulas as not serious or creative. On the other hand, fans can punish musicians who change too much by not buying their music. DeeGee and EnBee, the two driving forces behind the German outfit Funkatized, appear to found the right balance. The two roll out their changes over multiple albums. So in 2008, DeeGee and EnBee released Funkatized, an album consisting largely of Euro-friendly instrumental dance tracks. Two years later, the duo dropped Illegal Copy, a record that featured some electro dance but leaned more toward funk, R&B and acid jazz. Illegal Copy also included vocals in a very limited amount.

    Funkatized's new release Electric Chicken Club, sees the group moving more toward the kind of output that will be familiar to music fans on this side of the Atlantic. For one thing, Electric Chicken Club features more singing than either of the first two albums. Tracks such as the reggae styled “Time Is Running,” “I Love You Baby, “Red Light Cats” and the jazz/rock ballad “Mama Said” feature fully formed vocals by the duo. The two Germans are very limited vocally, a fact of which they are aware. However, the two make that limitation work in their favor by penning solid lyrics and delivering those lyrics in a conversational and often humorous style.

    The duo also built on the virtues that made Illegal Copy so appealing. Namely, DeeGee and EnBee bring a jam band sensibility to their music. They know how to create and improvise, and tunes such as “Quinn C,” “We Need Music” and even a vocal cut like “Red Light Cats” show that these two guys can funk hard. The break from Funkatized to Illegal Copy was pretty stark, and it would not surprise me if DeeGee and EnBee got some blowback from that. The transformation that occurred between Illegal Copy and Electric Chicken Club seems more natural and nuanced. This is addition by addition, and can only help the group find a friendly reception among funk fans in the USA and in other parts of the world. Recommended

    By Howard Dukes

     
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