The Eclectic Collective - The Flux
Producers: Mike Poorman and The Eclectic Collective
Release Date: April 17, 2007
Sometimes, it's all in a name. Just from taking a look at the name of a band, you can make your very first judgment, and oftentimes, it's the right notion. Metallica, Iron Maiden, Mastodon - they just sound like the names of heavy metal. Sugarcult, Bowling For Soup, Plain White T's - you know once you hear any one of them, you'll be needing an insulin shot immediately afterwards.
Point in case, The Eclectic Collective, an eight-piece band (or perhaps, small country) that composes a sound that is a blend of hip-hop, R&B, soul, jazz, funk and punk rock. Yes, those are quite a few genres, I know - but that's what makes this group so remarkably fresh and original. Unclassifiable in nearly every way, you just have to listen to them to make your own distinction.
Hailing from Boston (although many of the band members are first-generation Americans), E.C. brings a large cultural pallet to the table: they bring much of organic sound that bands like The Roots and Fishbone create, along with making their own unique combination of grassroots R&B/funk blended together with a bit of soul and punk for good measure.
Following up a year after their debut LP, Time Flies, the group passes right through the sophomore slump and hits one out of the ballpark with The Flux, a seven-song record that may seem short on the outside, but feels like an existential journey through your own private heaven upon one listen.
Further listening is required, because there is so much going on throughout the album. The basic four-piece requirement for a band is there, along with two duel vocalists (male and female), a keyboardist and a sax player to add some flair. The atmosphere surrounding this disc is incredibly potent; there seems to be a light casted upon you, the listener, as if you're in a funktastic fairy tale, being enchanted by a large group of drifters who make the kind of music that would make Sirens fall on their knees.
The usual hip-hop/soul lyrical wordplay is minimal and seems like its taken from a diary; the words Noni Kai and Fredua Agyeman sing are honest and about self doubt, questioning yourself and making sacrifices. They sing in passionate voices, as soft instrumentations back them. The songs become stronger and stronger as they go along, all containing choruses and bridges that most times, make the song's identity intact.
Each song has a different mood set to it, and as such, each song has changes in tempo, vocal style and melody. It's obvious the craft that went into this record (especially with eight minds - nine, counting the producer - in the mix) was carefully done...and when you have that many people in a band, it can sometimes be fatal, but each member seems to have a tender ear for music, and for what belongs and what doesn't.
Few mistakes or flaws lie in this disc, and if there are any, they are difficult to pinpoint. The Flux is one of 2007's most thrilling, most creative, and easily one of the year's most original records to hit. The band combines a flurry of sounds to create one mind-bendingly original mash-up that will make any lover of emotional, motivating and energetic music want to open up their arms and wrap them around the next person to walk in the room.
Yep, it's that good.
Choice Cuts: "Ocean Of Tears," "Maintain" and "Ask Yourself"
Recommended If You Like...: The Roots; Fishbone; Gnarls Barkley; Straylight Run and hip-hop
Noni Kai - vocals
Fredua Agyeman - vocals
Salim Akram - guitar
Santi Araujo - guitar
Graham Masser - bass
Sheel Dave - drums
RP Thompson - keyboard
Robert Oswald, Jr. - saxophone
1. Ocean Of Tears
2. Beautiful Mess
3. Ask Yourself
4. Shattered Monuments
7. The Flux
i've only listened a few times to this album, but so far it hasn't caught on with me. i feel that these guys are extremely talented and have lots of potential, but so far it seemed to be lacking something. maybe after a few more listens I'll hear what you're hearing.
Not usually my type of music but after reading your review, I gave them a shot and I have been completely blown away. The musicianship is first class and some of the time/rhythm changes are amazing. I can't remember being this excited about hearing a new band in a long, long time.
Do yourselves a favour guys and get out and buy this disc.
Great review also man.