Rating: What better season than summer for Oz-funk grandaddies Cookin’ On 3 Burners to release their latest Hammond-funk foray Lab Experiments Vol. 1: Mixin’? Er – well – spring, actually, since this was supposed to have an EU drop date of May this year and has been out in Oz since then – though technically for them that would have been autumn. Confused? Never mind, the foremost matter is the funk here on their fourth album – this eight-track successor to 2014’s Blind Bet.
Currently Lance Ferguson-less again (as they actually were at the time of Blind Bet too), the band’s new set weighs in at a mere eight tracks though it punches above its weight by virtue of its variety, its guest spots and the fact that it contains a b-boy cover of…Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Wait, what!? Yep, you did hear that right, the trio have turned out a blistering instrumental take on Hetfield and co.’s massive ’91 single that ventures into Calibro ’35 crime funk territory and is accompanied by a retro-video featuring a b-boy crew vs Wayne & Garth-type metalheads showdown. And it’s not even the best track on here. That honour goes to party dancefloor groover Sweet Talker featuring antipodean Winehouse-a-like vocal powerhouse, Stella Angelico. Also featured is recent single, the slower horns-heavy, soul bump Real Life Baby with vocals from Emmi (to which Enter Sandman was the B-side), and a final vocal number – the wistful Kylie Auldist vehicle More Than A Mouthful as the band re-unite with the voice of old collab. This Girl, famously sent supernova by that Kungs remix. The balance of tracks is made up by a quartet of instros which by turns deliver effortless moody sitar-funk on Lone Wolfe, the chicken-scratch of Wind Up, the Blue Note jazz-funky Black Stick and super-heavily syncopated burner Heavy Lenny. Cookin’ On 3 Burners’ fourth album then, less ‘lab experiments’ than something pretty damn polished. As they well know.
(Out now on Soul Messin’ Records)