Listen, nobody really
knows all the lyrics to those songs. For "Rollercoaster," all's most
people know is the lyric, "Rollercoaster, of love," (and that you can hear a
girl getting murdered halfway through the second verse).
With funk, it's never been about the words, it's always been about
the rhythm. Funk is primitive
that's what makes it so damn good. You didn't have to
think, just just had to listen to the rhythms and shout out the chorus when it came
around. These days, a new generation is being caught up in the same funky hooks that we
grew up with, thanks to cheesy commercials and retro films like Boogie Nights and 54.
Silicon Bomb seems to be trying to carry on the tradition, too, but in
a more rock 'n' roll fashion. Bassist Scott Bennett, Drummer Jerry Kuhn and Ben
Sieff on vocals and guitar -- Omahans all -- are trying to make everything groove on Madame
Butterfly, their locally produced 9-song self-released CD. But it's funk in
the Lenny Kravitz/Living Colour mode.
All too often, bands such as the Spin Doctors or Phish try to funk things up and
instead, sound like Grateful Dead wannabes. You could say the same thing about so-called
blues bands like Stevie Ray Vaughn or George Thorogood -- let's be frank, those bands have
nothing to do with the blues.
Silicon Bomb sounds more like a rock band doing an homage to funk
without letting go of their rock roots. And throughout most of the CD, that's good enough.
But what hampers Madame Butterfly is its lack of undeniably
infections hooks. There's no "brick house," or "we want to
funk" chorus. And while you can get your rump bumping here, it could be even more
funky. Much more, actually. Maybe it's time the boys let go of the big guitar cockrock
sound and pick up a horn section?
If it's not as funky as I'd like, I'm apt to fault the recording
process, because I'd bet this band is a blast live, when they can really get loose
and not worry about making everything fit into place. Here, they sound way
too boxed in by the studio. Way too concerned about hitting all the notes just
right. And while everything is clean and nice, something seems to be missing...
Most songs fall into the same mid-tempo pace. A little more
variety would go a long way. The boys wield their axes with precision, but
the Shaft-style guitar which accents most songs, only goes so far before it becomes
boring. And guitar lines, like on "Know It All," could be a bit more creative,
says they're working on new material. Here's hoping there are more hooks, fewer
lyrics and more straight from the heart shout-outs that the crowd can sing along to again
and again and again. Isn't that what good pop music's all about?