By now every self-respecting soul fan will know about MF ROBOTS. Since 2015 the duo of ex Brand New Heavy, Jan Kincaid and sometime Heavy/sometime solo performer/sometime top sessioneer, Dawn Joseph have peppered us with their imaginative take on the modern soul and funk genres. They say their mission was to make a music that is a far cry from the generic, formulaic, “safe” music that seems the contemporary norm. In other words they wanted to make music for people – not robots! Hence the duo’s ironic moniker!
For some time now they’ve been promising us a new album and at last the set has been released. It’s called ‘Break The Wall’ and, again, that name indicates where Jan and Dawn are coming from… they don’t want to be boxed in; they want to break new ground and, as a slew of album-heralding singles have shown, they’ve patently succeeded, crafting a sound that is clearly rooted in their combined pasts but which is also progressive.
And less we forget the “MF” in their name stands for “mother funkin’” and the 14 tracker that is ‘Break The Wall ‘delivers plenty of funk! Skip the self indulgent introductory “interlude” and delve into track two – a gritty, vigorous, funky ‘Change’. A tight and tough opening salvo. There’s more of the same on the brassy ‘Make Me Happy’ and what is in effect the band’s theme tune, ‘Mother Funkin’ Robots’. That’s one of (I think) 4 tunes that have been out as singles. The others are ‘Good People’, ‘Happy Song’ and ‘Gold’ on which, for variety Kincaid takes some of the vocals.
For more variety there’s the sweet and gentle ‘Crazy Life’, the Southern soul-flavoured ‘Brand New Day’, the jazzy ‘You’ and ‘Shine’ which actually harks back to the classic Brand New Heavies sound. Most ambitious track is the 6 minute closer, the soaring and melodic ‘Make The Call’ where the reference is more Rotary Connection that BNH – sort of underlining what Jan and Dawn are trying to achieve.
MF ROBOTS: Break The Wall out now on bbe Records.