Polyrhythmics Explore a Variety of Funk Sounds on ‘Man from the Future’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Funk can take a lot of different forms, from the party-rocking sounds of Parliament to the grooves of bands like The Haggis Horns. On their new instrumental album Man from the Future, Seattle band Polyrhythmics explore a variety of funk sounds from psychedelic to jazzy grooves.

The album came about in part when the band was snowed in for 72 hours at a ranch by the Skykomish River in Washington and gathered lots of ideas. However, the origin of the album isn’t the only interesting thing about it. Each of the eight members of the band contributed to the composition process that paints a picture of the titular Man from the Future.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this album has a different sound than the band’s previous album Caldera. That album has a spacey psychedelic sound that can make you feel like you’re on a trip without leaving your couch. There is still some psychedelic component to the band’s sound. However, the prevailing vibe here is somewhat cooler. “Digital Cowboy” is a good example. It is a deliberate song that moves at a tempo that gets you grooving without making you want to start a house party. Rather, it makes you long to be in some basement lounge watching this talented group perform.

“In the Trees” and “Chelada” are both interesting songs; with the space between notes and the tone of the guitar, they both sound like they could be on a soundtrack for a funky spaghetti western. Similarly, with the guitar sound made famous by Blaxploitation films, the title track sounds like it could easily be part of a soundtrack when the hero is doing something badass.

This isn’t necessarily a funk album that will make you get all sweaty from dancing. That’s not to say that you’ll be able to remain still throughout the whole album. You’ll do some grooving. It can’t be helped with the rhythms on this album. It’s more of an album when you just want to chill out with your favorite person and your favorite beverage and make the world go away. Still, if all of these songs are messages from some man in the future, then the future will be a wonderfully funky and cool place.

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