Poised and polished, Santa Barbara, the debut full length from Toronto, Ontario’s After Funk unfolds with an ease and elegance rare amongst even seasoned veterans. Drawing from a broad base, Santa Barbara nods to R&B, disco, jazz, soul, Latin, and, well, funk. Nothing feels contrived; these myriad modalities are stylistic colors in their compositional palette. Tastefully constructed, in-the-pocket melodic explorations give way to shimmering ballads. Sweat-soaked dancefloor rave-ups collapse into syncopated contrapuntal breakdowns. Gilding above and grooving in-between it all is the records’ keystone; the velvet, dynamic voice of Yanick Allwood.
Before After Funk, Allwood (who also plays keys), drummer Jaime Rosenberg, guitarist Phil Tessis, and bassist Justin Bontje lived parallel lives steeped in music. Their paths first crossed at the University of Western Ontario. The band grew to eight pieces, then shrank back to four. In 2014 they released a self-titled EP and hit the road. Word of their electric live show started to spread, and soon the band was playing alongside Snarky Puppy, Lettuce and more, and gracing the stage at major festivals such as Electric Forest, Harvest Jazz & Blues, and Evolve in Canada.
In 2015 the band released the ‘Til The Sun Comes Up EP, followed by 2017’s FREAK single. In early 2018 After Funk completed their first coast to coast tour of North America. The bulk of Santa Barbara was written, rehearsed, and workshopped in the band’s house on Santa Barbara Road in Toronto. “Historically, our music has been pretty light in nature”, says Rosenberg. “This time around we still went a little deeper and focused more telling tales of acceptance, discovery and growth.”
When the time came to put Santa Barbara to tape, the band headed to the Vanilla Room in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to the core quartet, the record features performances by, vocalists Kyla Charter (Alessia Cara, July Talk), Stacey Kay, and James Bailey (July Talk), bass clarinetist Jacob Gorzhaltsan (Jack DeJohnette), tenor saxophonist Julian Nalli (Fred Penner), trumpeter Tom Moffett (BadBadNotGood, Arkells), flautist and alto saxophonist Rob Christian, and Cuban percussionist Rosendo “Chendy” Leon (Sultans of String). The record was produced by Jeff Hazin (Yoko Gold) and mixed by Gabe Gallucci (Shawn Mendes).
After Funk emerged from the studio with an imminently engaging, fully-wrought record that takes the listener by the hand and sprints off into a heady journey. Laying itself bear with a well-earned confidence, Santa Barbara is nuanced, articulate, and profoundly satisfying.
Glide is thrilled to premiere “Face In The Crowd” (below) the lead single from After Funk’s new album Santa Barbara out this Spring 2019. The band conjures a soulful swagger that spells a mix of Leon Bridges, Lenny Kravitz and Galactic, while maintaining their own signature ingredient. After Funk command a neo-soul presence that knocks funk conventions and brings a fervently emotive song presence to the forefront.