In an era where imitation has become the road to success, Rubblebucket have stayed true to their roots in making funkified indie-pop music through unconventional ways. They are part marching band, part pop collective, and part Afro-funk quintet. Through seven outputs (four albums and three EPs), one thing is clear about Rubblebucket’s music – they have an uncompromising purpose to get everyone moving. Even the person with the least amount of rhythm will find their stride dancing to their boisterous, feel-good music.
Their fourth EP perfectly exemplifies why tens of thousands of people have gravitated to the Brooklyn-based band’s sound. After a slight hiccup with 2014’s Survival Sounds, If U C My Enemies is Rubblebucket at the top of their game and then some. It is fun, catchy, groovy, and funky. It is, in other words, the perfect record for these times, offering a much needed dose of optimism in a time of fear and loathing.
From the first to the very last song, the EP sounds like a New Year’s Eve party reaching its climax. The opening track, “Donna”, swirls of a hazy ’70s disco club while the brass section adds a bit of funk. Frontwoman Kalmia Traver’s vocals have an Anni-Frid Lyngstad vibe – perfectly lush and memorable, they type of voice that you won’t get out of your head. The title track is the Afro-funk-pop by which Rubblebucket has become defined. The song is surprising not so much in its delivery but in its message. In a time of anger or division, Traver seeks forgiveness and chooses to make her enemies her friends. This is a song that four years from now we may return to again and again.
The EP’s highlight is the sensual yet groovy “Not Cut Out For This”. The song is pop perfection. Traver’s vocals shine once again while the ’80s-inspired arrangements are stellar. The use of the brass section during the finale is a stroke of genius, as the song is given a renewed life. The closer, “Forlornification”, recalls the funk-pop of Prince and The New Power Generation in name, spirit, and funkiness. It is bombastic, ambitious, and just a pure delight. There is even a touch of Prince’s sass in Traver’s voice, as she teases us with her words.
And tease us is what Rubblebucket have done with If U C My Enemies, as this is a record that could continue for ages. The EP is outstanding and the perfect tonic to these dreary days. It will lift your spirits and get you up on your feet, reminding us that music can move us in so many ways. For that matter, If U C My Enemies is a celebration of the greatness of music as well as the ingenuity of Rubblebucket.
If U C My Enemies is out now via So Sensation Records. Rubblebucket are Kalmia Traver (vocals/baritone saxophone), Alex Toth (trumpet/vocals), Dandy McDowell (bass), Maddie Rice (guitar), and Adam Dotson (trombone).
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