In just under a month another veteran contemporary funk and soul act places its ‘difficult third LP’ cards on the table and this time it’s the turn of Cookin’ On 3 Burners – a.k.a. the ‘other’ band of Oz funk and soul kingpin, Lance Ferguson. Two previous LPs have dealt out hard-hitting, tightly-played instro funk, soul and jazz-funk that has become increasingly supplemented by vocal contributions in a not dissimilar manner to the output of The Bamboos. In fact, in the case of the latter act’s own third LP the vocal tracks and stylistic variety had exponentially increased. Have the Burners made a similar attempt to cover all bets or have they chosen to play a hand close to their chests? Let’s have a look see…
Less the Norwegian black metal that the title might suggest than minimal chugging New Orleans voodoo funk. Always best to sweeten up the faithful first in case you’re going to get any wild and crazy notions later…
2. FLAT ON MY BACK feat. TEX PERKINS
…like a bluesy barroom bump on which Tex Perkins channels Dr John doing an impression of Tom Waits after he’s had a few…
3. YOU GOT THE BETTER OF ME feat. JASON HEERAH
…or going all Motown in a post-Plan B homage to Smokey.
4. LOSIN’ STREAK feat. DANIEL MERRIWEATHER
Clear LP highlight, this itchy little number allows a man who spent far too long in the company of Mark Ronseal to reverse a losing streak with a fiery performance that sees him nodding by turns to both Tom Jones and Prince without sounding like either.
5. BLIND BET
A.k.a. let’s give them some uptempo clattery spy-funk with strings in case we decide to follow this with, say, a soaring country soul ballad…
6. LAST MAN STANDING feat. HARRY ANGUS
A soaring country soul ballad. Which is – er – actually far from as bad as it sounds.
7. THE SPANISH JOB
A.k.a. Cookin On Dick Dale with a strings bridge. Is that Tarantino at the door..?
8. CHEW YOU UP feat. KYLIE AULDIST
Kylie in sultry slow n sexy sister funk mode. Yes please!
9. THE VANISHED
Right they’ve had a bit more of the usual – let’s try ’em out with something new…oohh I know – instrumental psychedelia!
10. MIND MADE UP feat. KYLIE AULDIST
Kylie in summery seventies soul mode and the Burners get out the strings once more. Sweet.
11. OF DICE & DEN
Crunchy and loping funkstrumental punctuated by organ stabs, layered with strings and punningly named after the favourite book of that fanatical moron Michael Gove.
COMMENTS: Apparently, third albums are no longer difficult and what Blind Bet might lack in the hard-hitting funky instrumentals of yore is more than made up with by successfully branching out (sub)-generically. A lot more ‘sold’ than ‘fold.’
(Out 23 June on Freestyle Records)
BEST TRACKS: Skeletor, Losin’ Streak, Blind Bet, Mind Made Up