Funkalicious: The Dustaphonics “Big Smoke London Town”
For a few years now, The Dustaphonics have been shaking up the London scene with an excitingly energetic party groove sound that distills such wide-ranging influences as 50’s R&B sleaze, 60’s garage rock, vintage soul, blues, surf, punk, you name it. It’s a distinctly vintage sound presented with a modern twist and production sense that carefully preserves the passionate rawness of the music.
Headed up by the co-founder of the “Raison D’être Collective” – DJ, musician, producer and promoter Yvan Serrano-Fontova, who has long been presenting exciting revue style shows around London. The remainder of the lineup has completely changed since the release of their first album, 2011’s excellent “Party Girl”. The dynamic rhythm section compliments Serrano’s up-front, reverb-drenched guitar as Eric Frajria alternates with Bruce Brand on the drums and solid backbone bass from Dan Whaley. New vocalist, Hayley Red puts in a charismatic, fun and energetic performance on this, her impressive debut album appearance. All the material here is fresh too, with the exception of “When You Gonna Learn”, which survives the back catalogue repertoire to get a vital redux with an energising call and response on top of blazing guitar; whilst the album’s one cover, bluesman Louisiana Red’s “Ride On Louisiana Red”, gets an epic road trip rock ‘n’ roll makeover. Beyond the anthemic title track, which deserves to be one of those tracks you play as you get ready to go out on the town, each track is as fresh as the last. A motor revs up the start of “Grand Prix”, a thrilling rockabilly-surf instrumental. “Rockin’ Boogaloo” does what it says on the tin, whilst delivering cool guitar breaks and terrific, rolling surf drums before jumping back into Hayley’s spirited vocal. “Don’t Let The Devil Drive Your Car” is more foot-stomping road trip cool, while the vibrant go-go of “Back To Mono” bounces along in a kinetic groove. The broodingly moody surf instrumental “Fire Dance” paints a cinematic soundscape of a beach party, a reminder that while there is a whole load of London energy in this album, the musical influence is also very much American. The closing “Flesh & Blood” is a tender, sultry serenade that exposes the beauty of of Hayley Red’s breathy vocals against a simple acoustic guitar, nicely contrasting the album’s overall guttural delivery and pace.
With a fantastic sound and attitude, nostalgic Americana clashes head-on with a heady London attitude and vintage style, to create one of this year’s most energetic and vital releases. Party with The Dustaphonics until your feet hurt and you lose your voice.