Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Just this month, funk rock band Diazpora released their latest album entitled Islands. All nine members of this group contribute to their unique sound. Think Dave Matthews vocals and saxophone accompaniment meets Sly and the Family Stone’s signature soulful bass tones and steady drum rhythm. Their upbeat energy is comparable to modern rock groups such as Fitz and the Tantrums. Islands is thirteen tracks of passionately irreverent old school music. Lead vocalist Alex Feige warbles, growls, trills, whispers and harmonizes his way through the album, giving each track a different tone. Diazpora is the rare type of band that you and your parents can listen to – and actually enjoy – together. Their sound is the result of ages of rock and funk influence, continuous tweaking, and a highly evident love of music in its purest instrumental form.
To me, Diazpora seems less concerned with mainstream popularity and more focused on producing a unique and timeless sound. This is evident throughout the album, as each drum hit, guitar riff or saxophone solo is perfectly timed and proudly executed. In a world where any music that shuns electronic editing is ever diminishing, it is groups like Diazpora that keep the genre alive. They are equal parts rock and funk, this dichotomy manifesting itself differently from track to track.
For a song imbued with all the jazzy irreverence of soul, check out my personal favorite track ‘Nap Xtra Long’. With almost no vocals save for Feige’s occasional staccato shouts and rhythmic grunts, the instrumentals of the song carry the piece. Complete with guitar, bass, various percussion and wind instruments, there is not a note or pitch out of place. There is even something verging on Phish in the creative soundscapes they create. This is further proved on smooth tracks like ‘Moon’. Here again Feige hangs back on the vocals, allowing the instruments to carry the weight, interjecting only with the soaring refrain “if I was on the moon I’d be terrified of space and time.” The wa-wa petal alteration on the intro to the track ‘2 Much Effort’ is well worth your time as well.
Their music is trippy without overdoing it, rocking without dating themselves, jazzy without becoming elevator music, and funky in only the best ways. For some heavily instrumental, buoyant rock funk music, simply hit play on Diazpora’s latest release Islands. In Diazpora, we have a band that is dignified in its disregard for mainstream appeal or questing after the chart topper that will make their career. In my opinion, they have arrived, it’s just time we all started listening.