‘Balance’ by Funke and the Two Tone Baby “ …ground-breaking and category-shattering”(May 27, 2015)
“All you have to do is ask.” How many times have you heard that but discovered disappointment? Prepare to be fulfilled by Funke and the Two Tone Baby. The EP, ‘The Last Thing We’ll See Is The Sea’ caused me to remark: “This is strong stuff, 100% proof - there's just not enough of it - another album soon please.” So here is the latest release, ‘Balance’, the follow up to the stunning originality of the debut album ‘Battles’. This is a blend of folk, blues and rock overlaid with discernible influences from just about everywhere - the result drives a wedge into any attempts at categorisation. This is another ground-breaking, category-shattering piece of work. This time the aggressive drive is moderated slightly, not in a bad way just more towards a direction of maturity and competency with composition, style and delivery.
Funke and the Two Tone Baby is the band name of multi-instrumentalist Dan Turnbull, and given the power of his driving guitar and machine-gun licks coupled to a barrage of effects, beatboxing and thumping bass lines, allied to gutsy, powerhouse vocals you could be forgiven for expecting a multi-member band to turn up. Nope, just one man doing his own thing and turning out a wall of sound in the process.
For those that know Dan’s work, the bass-driven, hard-hitting vocal openers ‘Not Enough Bonobo’ and ‘Not Looking For It Anymore’ are familiar ground, whereas the softer edge of ‘The Boatman and The Thief’ slides in with a quieter presence before the stomping drive of ‘I’m Not Well’ bounds back with a hefty dose of the usual belligerence. A foot tapping, punchy groove echoes through ‘If You’re Nice To Me’, while the tender acceptance and wider understanding of ‘Tales Of The Place I Live’ takes another step into a softer approach. ‘Anarchy’ is still a pile-driver of a song but shows how his style is developing with ripping guitar breaks, before ‘I Should’ve Stayed In Bed’ offers another outing towards a reflective folkier narrative.
Travelling at speed or considered cruising, jackhammer funk or melodic meanderings, this is full-on music that grabs you and keeps hold. ‘Balance’ releases on 20 July 2015, available on iTunes and other digital retailers.
Review: Tim Carroll