Blue Funk


Independent release, 2014

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In this age of mega recording contracts handed over to singing TV stars, it's refreshing to know that there are still bands doing it the hard way. Labors is one such band, a Chicago-based quintet whose second album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Blue Funk, was crowdfunded entirely by fans.

When I say album, I actually mean it, as this is only available on recycled vinyl and, of course, online at Bandcamp. There really are no plans to release a physical CD at this point, though if interest continues to grow in the band I'm sure they wouldn't rule it out.

The nine song, 35-minute album is all smoky indie pop with a solid jazz influence, the sort of thing that plays well in a coffee shop, martini bar in a college town, or the car radio on a wistful cloudy day. The songs tend to all settle in the same slow groove, blending together after a while without leaving much impact, which is a shame considering the talent and care put into the songs.

Z.L. Melton has a fine voice for this music but never breaks out of the mold he sets, giving the same shading and approach to each song. Little elements like the bluesy guitar on “All Degree Day” and the dusky horns on the opening “The Grand East” help those cuts stand out a bit from the others and are the two best ones to download for the curious.

Here's the thing. When you walk into a winery or coffee shop at night, this is the sort of music you want to hear. It sets the mood, it makes you feel slightly buzzed, it's something you can flirt or ponder or discuss or relax to because it's unobtrusive. It's great for those times in your life, but as those moments are pretty rare (for those above age 22, at least), it's better to seek out music that really moves you. Not that Blue Funk doesn’t have that capability at times, but its subtle, low-key nature makes it difficult to want to listen to repeatedly.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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