The only problem listeners may have with the new Lettuce album is the risk of bodily injury. There’s some heavy funk on Rage!, starting with drummer Adam Deitch and bassist Erick E.D. Coomes slamming into “Blast Off.”
No doubt, when you put a group of Berklee College Music grads together, there is no shortage of talent. And there’s no teaching the heart and soul that this band oozes; “Sam Huff’s Flying Rage Machine” starts with sonic horn blasts that tear right at your emotions and scream for you to dance. Special guests like the bankable vocals of Dwele, Jason “Cribs” Crosby on additional strings, and Alan Evans, place the proverbial cherry on top of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up.”
The band tags Rage! with every style of funk. “King of the Burgs” slams like the tail-end of a Cadillac with big beats and a hip hop vibe. “The Last Suppit” flirts with Tower of Power, huge horns and fuzzy guitar tone create five minutes of blistering funk. Deitch seems to have no limits behind the drum kit. On “Dizzer” Deitch, Coomes, and keyboardist Neal Evans, one third of the powerhouse trio Soulive, throw down some organ funk.
"Makin’ My Way Back Home” finds a little more secret weapon with vocals from Nigel Hall, guitarist Adam Smirnoff and Chris Max. The album’s only other cover, “Express Yourself,” finds sax man Sam Kininger taking over on vocals, along with Josh Roseman on trombone and Maurice Brown on trumpet. Possibly the most exciting track on the album, it is perfect for the summer’s first backyard party, although “Relax” is the perfect elixir for an outdoor cocktail joint, slamming yet with a reserved nature.
Funketeers, this is a must have. There is a little something on here for every fan of the funk. Never mind the fact that their day jobs include Soulive, Rustic Overtones, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Wycleaf Jean, these guys just have a great time making music. It seems to be contagious, so please spin the album in the safest of conditions (in case of bodily injury).
Rage! is out now on Velour records.