Where did the funk go? Did it die when Prince lost his edge (supposedly)? Did it just get phased out with disco? 2004 witnessed a small resurrection of funk. Whether it be the rebirth of the iconic Rick James or Andre 3000′s foray into the spaced out vibes of his critically acclaimed, The Love Below, funk saw a satisfying yet brief resurgence onto the music scene. Well, if it is funk you want then so be it. Plantlife makes their attempt to make funk once again relevant with their venture into the territory George Clinton put a staple on with their album Return of Jack Splash.
Lead Vocalist Jack Splash, vocalists Dena Deadly and Rashida join forces with the production talents of Panda One to create an album that should fill the void for anyone who yearns for the days of pure unadulterated funk. Return of Jack Splash is littered with traces of Parliment, Prince, Rick James and James Brown all high off of whatever drug you can think of. Beats that your uncle can cut a rug to are the main focus of this album, as Panda One creates a backdrop
that would make Prince howl in bliss. Nothing too deep to make you contemplate, just words from Jack accompanying a musically appealing album. The beautiful vibes of “When She Smiles She Lights the Sky” can quite possibly, as Jack puts it, “light up the world like ummmm… Jupiter Rings?” Not the deepest of thoughts, but all in good fun nonetheless. Jack may remind you of Andre with a similar approach and vibe with “Bottle of Hope (Save the World)” where Jack croons his way through some more butter production and top it off with a little rhyme of his own. The moving guitar plucks of “Why’d U Call Me? (3am)” may bob a head or two as well with it’s lovely backdrop. “Beautiful Babies oozes of the signature sound that made artists such as Rick James popular- beautiful production that take over your mind, body and soul. Oh and don’t think this album wasn’t made for the dancefloor. Jams such as “Stardancer” resonate with that funk that possesses bodies to rock…whether you have rhythm or not. The ultimate bodyrocking joint is the energetic “Luv 4 the World (Why They Gotta Hate?)” may have the listener searching for strobe lights and smoke machines while “The Girl Said…Give It to Me!” demands crowded dancehalls filled with bodies wiggling their rumps to the magnetic grooves.
The only complaint that can be filed for Plantlife are the simple lyrics and what some may call “soulless” vocals from Jack Splash. At times Return of… drifts along the fence of monotony. But seriously, a true funk fan could care less. A true funk fan (such as this critic) is just happy that somebody paid homage to a very significant era in music. Hell, Prince and Rick James didn’t have the greatest of voices. It was their aura behind the mic that made their music special. Sure Jack Splash doesn’t possess the elements that the afformentioned legends do but who the hell does? Return of Jack Splash is the perfect fix for anyone looking to ride that rocketship of old school funk once again.
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