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Published: 2010/10/25
by Brian Robbins

Fat Freddy’s Drop
Live At Roundhouse London

The Drop

Who knew New Zealand was actually the Land of Groove, I ask?

That’s right, boys and girls: New Zealand – home of the kiwi (the small brown flightless bird, not the small brown flightless fruit). The same New Zealand that is 1200 miles as the crow flies (not the kiwi) from Australia, which itself feels like a long ways from anywhere.

It’s true, however – they apparently grow their beats large in New Zealand, folks. Just last year our shores were assaulted (in the nicest of ways) by The Black Seeds’ blend of 70s-style roots reggae and soul on their Solid Ground album. And now we need to make rump room for Fat Freddy’s Drop, an eight-piece funk powerhouse whose newly released Live At Roundhouse London is nothing but slow-grinding fun, fun, fun.

These lads are capable of pulling off everything from horn-laden live dub jams to wild-arse gales of fiery percussion that know no nation to moments of blissful Neville Brothers-like soul. Mostly they’re all about the groove – the locked-in-and-locked-on, what’s-your-hurry-baby-we-got-all-night-to-do-it-right, bone-thumping groove. (Imagine, if you will, a heavy-lidded and blissed-out pit bull that’s hoovered up a bunch of spilled weed from the shag carpet of the singlewide and has clamped down gently on your leg – just smiling and nodding and probably not going to let go in the near future. That’s what Fat Freddy’s Drop does with a groove.)

Beautifully recorded – the snap of the snare will jolt your bones, but that big ol’ fat bass will make up for it with a full body and soul rubdown – Live At Roundhouse London is a showcase for FFD’s ability to improvise on the fly, burrow into the beat, mine the soul, and never let the energy go slack.

Play that funky music – and shake them kiwis. (Gently, though – they’re endangered.)

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