This is butt-shaking music, to be sure…
Formerly known as Duchess & the Afro Dub Rebels, the band underwent a name change to Oobleck last year, borrowing their new moniker from the 1949 Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck,” in which a mysterious, sticky substance threatens to destroy the kingdom.
Oobleck the band may not be threatening to destroy Nippertown, but their deep-dish funkified sound is guaranteed to stick in your ears.
Anchored by the rhythm section of drummer Kevin Van Genechten and bassist Nick Wallas, the groove is the undeniable focus on the six-piece band’s self-produced debut album Tell Your Mom I Said Hi that was home-recorded in a living room. Or perhaps I should the grooves, because Oobleck brings the funk from a variety of different angles on this eight-song batch of original instrumental tunes. Sometimes they pump out the stone-cold soul-funk of the JBs. Sometimes they veer into the Afro-funk of Fela Kuti. And sometimes – especially on the album closers “Funk Sucker” and “Waiting for Ryan” – they head off into Frank Zappa’s Grand Wazoo territory.
As they write in their band bio, “When we say funk, we actually mean funked-out-afro-rock-grunge-dub-whatever.”
And it all works marvelously. The horns – trumpeter Audrey Van Genechten, baritone saxophonist Ryan Coffi and tenor saxman Scott Vorwald – make for a tight, potent ensemble, punctuating the in-the-pocket grooves with a precise, almost percussive-like attack. And when they break off into high-flying solo mode, they each get the job done just fine, too.
Guitarist Bill Murray provides the icing on the cake, shifting effortlessly from wah-wah-drenched, righteously riffing rhythm work to searing, soaring solos.
Oobleck celebrates the release of “Tell Your Mom I Said Hi” on Saturday night (October 13) at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany. Showtime is 9pm, and the Ameros will kick off the night’s festivities. Admission is $5. And whatever you do, don’t forget your dancing shoes…