As we reported to you a few weeks back, the legendary funk band ConFunkShun are back with their latest release More Than Love due out 28th April, and we’ve been given a sneak peak of the album ahead of its release. ConFunkShun made a name for themselves in the late ‘70s and ‘80s with some seriously funky grooves such as ‘Ffun’ and ‘Sho’ Feels Good To Me’, but on their latest release the band tap into the adult contemporary market, putting together a selection of nice ballads on their first album in two decades.
The album opens with the vibe of ‘Your Night’, a single that was originally released last year. It’s a marked change for ConFunkShun, lead by original members Michael Cooper and Felton Pilate, but it works: this is tasty modern groove, featuring a great vocal as well as a great neo-soul arrangement on the background vocals. Similar, and as we’ve already noted, the lead single of the album ‘I Miss You’ is a song that has really grown on us here at TF&SR – it’s a great lyric that is incredibly catchy and delivered so well. The production ‘I Miss You’ is equally good, and is one of the album’s standout songs, telling the story of a man who couldn’t commit to a relationship but has now found out what a mistake he has made. It’s a song that will grow on you, one that’ll you be humming and singing on for a while to come.
The ballads keep on coming, particularly on the title song. It has the classic funk drum machine sound, utilised here to nice effect on this romantic tune, helping to create another adult contemporary R&B song that will suit the American radio stations beautifully. Indeed, this is music for adults, music for getting romantic with – a gamble for a band most associated with funky classics, but Cooper and Pilate pull it off well.
‘Dance N With a Grown Man’ takes the tempo up a notch, providing the listener with a smooth R&B vibe to groove along to. Again, the lyric is clever, past-paced and catchy. The mid-tempo stepper ‘It’s On Tonight’ hits the mark better, reminiscent of the recent album by Dramatics icon LJ Reynolds. The cover of Curtis Mayfield’s classic ‘Move on Up’ is ambitious but misses the mark somewhat, relying on synths too much and neglecting the classic horn sound that ConFunkShun is famous for.
Nonetheless, for the first album in nearly two decades ConFunkShun have exceeded expectations: the business is far different from what they started out in, and where many other acts have chosen to focus solely on performing, Cooper and Pilate should be applauded for risking the legacy of ConFunkShun by attempting some new, different material. It’s a good album overall, and it’s worth checking out for ‘I Miss You’ alone. Let’s hope ConFunkShun can capitalise on this new album, and bring us some new funk in the future.
More Than Love is out Tuesday 28th April on Shanachie. You an hear snippets of the album on SoundCloud below, and check out the video to ‘I Miss You’ here.