Mamas Gun’s debut album Routes to Riches touches all genres and eras known to their kind of music, which is funk and/or soul.[firstpara]
But make no mistake: the band manages to display their funk in the most un-formulaic way.
The five-piece funk/soul band consists of ‘Professor’ Rex Horan (bass), Dave ‘Eighties’ Burnell (keyboards), Terry ‘Spiller’ Lewis, ‘Union’ Jack Pollit (drums), and singer/composer Andy Platts, who by the way is soaring with half-Pinoy blood.
Platts, then eager to form a band, scouted and found these four talented musicians on the web. The fivesome then named their band after an Erykah Badu album of the same title.
This record is a fresh discovery and is in fact surprisingly polished.
“Pots of Gold” is their first ever single, released in 2008 way before Routes to Riches came out.
This is arguably the best track in the album as well – a toned down funky song with hints of a mainstream pop song.
The song pretty much started their careers, and for a good reason: “Pots of Gold” is the reason the band became one of Japan’s most played international artists in 2009.
While the slow and bass-heavy “Wishing” will remind you of a typical Maxwell song, its groovy guitar solo right at the bridge spells the starck difference.
“Big Betty” immediately picks up on a high note and goes like that all throughout the song. But the song almost sounded monotonous if it wasn’t for the little keyboard breaks after every chorus. “Psycho Territory,” despite its catchy rhythm, suffers the same fate.
“Finger On It” displays a happy-funky tune, the type that we would probably hear on a sneakers or a lollipop commercial. The flute-filled instrumentals reminded us of an E-heads song called “Hey Jay,” which is bizarre but nonetheless breezy cool.
“Let’s Find A Way” is a running but mellow track, mostly ran by the funky bass of the ‘Professor’ accompanied by small keyboard parts. It prospers like a long-forgotten Motown song, which is a compliment, really.
“You Are the Music”, the band’s third released single, channels the bubblegum soul of the 70s and 80s so perfectly, prompting oblivious listeners to associate this track as a James Ingram or a Stevie Wonder song.
Routes to Riches is pretty much a laid-back cool record. You can even see it in their album cover; representing the colorful and platonic tone of their sound.
We believe they belong in a different era, and we thank these dudes for their knack of making good funky music, old and new.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO