It has been a long time since the New Orleans-based Dumpstaphunk released a studio album (2013’s Dirty Word) but the current societal events and recent political strife have made the spring of 2021 the perfect setting for the band’s timely return with Where Do We Go From Here.
While the album could have veered dark, Dumpstaphunk chose to preach light, unity, and love as central tenants around the thick funk. The veteran players (Ivan Neville – vocals, Hammond organ, clavinet, nord synth, Tony Hall – vocals, bass, guitar, Nick Daniels III – vocals, bass, Ian Neville – guitar, Deven Trusclair – drums, Alex Wasily – trombone, Ryan Nyther – trumpet) deliver that sweaty and sticky-sweet sound, The record also has quite a few guests as Alvin Ford Jr. plays drums on multiple tracks and The Steeltown Horns support as well.
Where Do We Go From Here is bookended by its strongest tracks as a blazing cover kicks things off and a reworked original closes the record with gusto. The outfits take on the Buddy Miles Express “United Nations Stomp”, is a barn burner with Marcus King and Waddy Watchel helping out on guitar while “Justice 2020” adds Charlie 2na and Trombone Shorty to the reworking of the Dumpstaphunk original, dealing directly with social upheaval over the last year.
In between these two standout tunes is a collection of deep funk, ranging from instrumental workouts to future anthems and even a splash metal (the outlier “Sounds”). On the instrumental side, “Dumpstamental” is a percolating adventure, “Backwash” delivers dynamite bass and keys, and the horns propel “Itchy Boo” which also sees saxophone wizard Skerik join the fun. “Do You” is a bouncing blast, the title track poses the question and answer on how we grow from this, with love as a focal point, while “Make It After All” continues that theme of moving forward with positive vibes around an upbeat rocker.
The album runs long and the tunes keep going as they were clearly recorded with the stage in mind. When touring resumes they will be stretched out into even longer funky dance parties, proving that we move forward together by showing respect and love to all mankind. Where Do We Go From Here is chock full of funky beats while also radiating positive energy, pointing towards a brighter future.