Multiples – God Johnson
Multiples, the debut disc from Minneapolis' God Johnson is semi-formulaic
inoffensive feelgood jamband funk. The opening "Cheat" contrasts a rocking
guitar lead with a softer melodic lyrical hook. On "Squirms," a tight funk
jazz groove drops into dreamy space territory, morphs into some killer synth
madness, then finds its way back into a sped up version of itself, full of
mini guitar solos, before ending up right back where it all started.
The band certainly seems to have the basic jam vehicle formula of opening
chorus/jam section/closing chorus down. "Who Am I" is no exception, with
its happy-groove-into-insane-spacefunk-and-back-again structure. "Savannah"
has a kind of throwback soul feel to it, and is definitely more evidence
that the band seems the most comfortable, and the most creative, in the
funkier realms of their sound. Occasionally the two keyboard approach offers
a nice blend of classic piano sounds and modern synthesizers, but the full
effect of the dual attack is primarily heard during the most spirited of the
band's funk explorations.
The group's trademark stoned slow funk is all over "Mobile," before it
launches into Jason Fladager's rocking guitar solo. When the band members
are taking solos on a song like "Brainwashed" the talent of the group is
undeniable, even if at times they seem to lack cohesiveness. "Drama" starts
off rocking but eventually sounds like a strange reggae version of the
beginning to Phish's "Axilla." Another reggae-tinged groove becomes the
trademark slow Johnson funk before launching into a roaring echoey guitar
solo on "Oliver."
The obligatory attempt at the marathon multi-part epic comes in the form of
"Moist," a tune that starts off promising, but doesn't quite deliver all the
way through. It begins devilishly funky, goes the techno spacejam route, and
finds its way into rocking build-up. The build-up becomes the hardest
booming rock of the entire album before they pop into some ambient space
noises to kill some time, before the grand finale of a "Phishy" style
musical plateau of slow emotive guitar builds and an ethereal backbeat.