Retro funk elements, fresh guest vocals expand appeal of dark dance music EP

Francisco Marin

For the myriad of bands gunning for a resurgence in ‘60s surf pop (Best Coast) and girl group harmonies (Dum Dum Girls, Tennis), it’s almost unnatural that DâM-FunK would jump in with his brand of ‘80s neo-funk.

With elements of dark hip-hop, Prince-era funk and Chromeo-style synth, DâM-FunK has crafted a solid EP. Three out of four songs on the EP have already been released on the L.A. producer’s Toeachizown series from last year. But what makes this EP so great is that he’s tweaked the songs and added guest vocals, making what was formerly repetitious dance music into something more visceral and accessible: pop songs for the casual funk listener.

The title track brings on Compton rapper MC Eiht for some mediocre rhymes, but DâM-FunK himself shines in the spotlight as the sultry centerpiece of the song. “Killdat a.k.a. Killdatmuthafucka” shows off Steve Arrington’s classically funk vocals and lush production, making for an infectious groove.

On “How It Be Between You and Me,” sexy wah-wah guitar and murky bass, compounded by DâM-FunK’s signature vocals, make for a five-and-a-half-minute ode to sexual longing.

DâM-FunK experiments with some new outfits in this groundbreaking EP, and they suit him well, but long-time listeners already familiar with his work may be taken aback by his sudden change in direction.

For fans of: Madlib, Nite Funk, Hudson Mohawke

Grade: B