It’s got to be hard for a funk band to be taken seriously these days. It’s a genre most commonly associated in the mainstream with George Clinton and his increasingly outlandish appearance and performed primarily by campy, nostalgia-feuled, retro-’70s acts. So groups such as Long Beach’s OO Soul (pronounce it “double-oh”) have to settle for simply being good at what they do.
And they’ve been doing it for a while, producing their Latin-tinged funk/soul since 1994. Their latest studio album, Till the Lights Come Up, is only their third release, trailing 1999’s Solid Sounds of the Eight Piece Brotherhood and 2002’s All Brothers, Different Mothers. Not exactly a Ryan Adams-type pace, but maybe that’s okay. From the nine nearly instrumental new tracks on the record, it truly feels like the best way to experience the eminently danceable eight-piece band is at a live show. The album’s inclusion of “Bread Basket,” a live performance recorded in 1997 at the since-demolished Foothill Club (where the band served a five-year residency), shows that OO Soul probably think that, too.
Which is not to sell the recorded material short. OO Soul don’t attempt to rewrite the book here, sticking with the horn-heavy funk that remains their specialty. New members Nic Chaffee (trumpet) and Don Skinner (guitar) acquaint themselves well to their surroundings, and numbers such as “Blood and Sand” and “Sometimes”—the record’s longest, at just less than seven minutes—establish a groove and stick with it long enough without overstaying their welcome. Raucous and lyrically thin songs such as opener “Testify” and “Dirty Lowdown” prove that OO Soul are more about experiencing music than intellectualizing it. They’re the type of tunes that would leave even the most awkward of white boys no choice but to get down.
OO Soul perform at Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292. Fri., 9 p.m. $10. 21+. Visit www.myspace.com/OOSoul for more information.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA, 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.