This is the Funky Part is the third studio release by Philadelphia’s funk masters The Royal Noise. With nearly 70 minutes of music it can be a little overwhelming at times but by the end of it all there’s still a lot that can be said about this up and coming instrumental hard-edged funk band from the city of brotherly love. The transitions from studio tracks to live cuts seem to come over smoothly, presenting the listener with a good sense of what they can do on stage. The first half of the album is laden with saxophonist/keyboardist Mike LaBombard, at times a little unrelenting. Buried beneath is the guitar prowess of Johan Harvey, who seems to come into play for the first time on the track "B.O.D." The Sax is just so overpowering in the first half you barely seem to notice anything else. So depending on what you consider ear candy, this can be either good or very bad. Personally, especially with instrumental acts, I enjoy hearing each member’s mastery of their instruments. Not to say this isn’t the case here, it’s just that you get a feeling of restraint from the other members in the band. This doesn’t lessen the music’s funky impact, though. There’s a lot of good stuff here to sink your teeth into. It’s frequently virtuosic with deep cranked grooves that will make you want to move your body. I highly recommend this for any jazz-funk fan. This is The Funky Part works best when the lead instruments, saxophone and keyboards, coexist with the guitar, bass and drums, serving as counterpoints to each other rather than a syncopated groove, giving each member an identity. It’s still every bit as funky with a raw, more organic approach overall – some of their best work to date. Standout tracks include “Bridge over 53rd”, “B.O.D” (My personal favorite), “Drop that Catfoot”, “Jumbling Towers/Back at the Bakery” and “Fields Get Greener”.
- Simon Eddie