For several months now, premier Antipodean soul and funk outfit, the BAMBOOS have been promising us a new album – the promise came via a trio of singles. There was the brash disco-slanted boogie workout, ‘The Ex Files’ (the vocal was down to the band’s long time sparring partner, Kylie Auldist); also the gentler ‘Safe From Harm’ which, interestingly, featured vocals from Reginald A. K. – the son of dear, aforementioned Kylie! The first single, though, was a bit of surprise for the band’s fans. It was ‘Midlife Glow’ – a hip hop track which featured Ozay Moore. It sort of divided opinion – you know how conservative soul fans can be!
Well, the long promised LP is now with us . It’s ‘This Is How You Do It’ and though the sound across the 12 tracker is (mainly) typically Bamboos, there are a couple more rap tracks. They are ‘Everything’s Gonna Be OK’ with rhyming from Kings and ‘For The Record’ – a double header with input from Ozay Moore (again) and Ohmega Watts. Band main man, Lance Ferguson is unrepentant about including rap on the album: “Hip Hop has been part of the DNA of The Bamboos from the very beginning and beyond. Whether deliberately dropping extended drum breaks into our tunes with DJs and producers in mind, or featuring MCs like Ohmega Watts, Lyrics Born, J-Live and Ty on our songs. It made total sense to devote some tracks to show this side of our sound.”
The album, though, boats plenty of cuts that are more typical of the band. Try the funky, bustling instrumental that is ‘Caicos Dawn’ or the album’s title track (Ms Auldist out front again). This one sums up everything that is good about the Bamboos sound – melodic, soulful, and totally optimistic. Elsewhere the album closer, ‘Better Than That’ is a soulful delight – a touch of mellow moment Tower Of Power. ‘Afterglow’ is a killer ballad while Reginald A. K steps up to the plate again on a loose limbed funk cut, ‘Bored’.
So there’s something for everyone on ‘This Is How You Do It’ which Ferguson defends: “It’s 2023, so let’s not get caught up with things like musical convention, because everything is wide open now. By definition nothing that we release can ever possibly be outside the sphere of “our sound” because that sphere is continually expanding, changing and redefining itself as we create the music”.
The Bamboos’ ‘This Is How You Do It’ is out now on CD / DL via Pacific Theatre. There’s also a vinyl version coming in February. A European and UK tour has also been announced for winter. It will be their first in over ten years, and will take in dates across Spain, France, Germany and finishes in London, which will see the band play to some of their most loyal fans.