Bogo – Global Funk
On Bogo, the latest release from California-based Global Funk (formerly Global Funk Council), the band showcases their growing musical potential, but falls a little short in the originality department. Tight musicianship and plenty of impressive interplay between the band members are some of the most noticeable characteristics of the songs on Bogo, but one can’t escape the blatant influence of some of the more popular artists in the jamband genre, chief among them, Phish and Medeski, Martin & Wood.
No need at all to give up hope for Global Funk though, or simply label them as another attempted Phish clone destined to wallow in mediocrity. This band has plenty of potential and obvious talent, and is likely just going through the same struggles that many bands in the jam scene experience when trying to transfer their live jam prowess into polished studio recordings. The energy that can likely be built up in a live version of a 20-minute epic like "Sarah’s Best" can be easily lost on the more cleaned up album version. Lengthy multi-part compositions like "Demons," and the slow funk groove of "Sisters," showcase the band’s songwriting skills, but seem limited by the confines of the recording studio, and are likely much more impressive when played live.
Deliciously danceable and musically interesting jazz-funk instrumentals like "Spank" and "Rub" are responsible for drawing the MMW comparisons. At the same time, on tunes like these the band sounds much more comfortable with their instruments than usual, and the potential for a live show dance-a-thon bolstered by songs like these is undeniable.
As with any good jamband worth the price of admission, Global Funk can go from bluegrass tones ("You Might Say") to reggae grooves ("Up Here") to straight up bouncy twangy rockers ("Long Time Comin’") with confidence and ease. Overall, Global Funk’s brand of fun jammed-out funk rock is very easy on the ears and quite accessible. A band with this much talent is likely to quickly move further away from playing like their influences, and closer to developing their own unique and original sound.