The Winston Brothers

Colemine Records , 2022


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


When I think funk, the first song that comes to mind is Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” After that, the songs fly thick and fast: “Theme from Shaft,” “Tear The Roof Of The Sucker,” “Word Up,” “Play That Funky Music,” anything by James Brown…my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

What do these songs have in common? For me, it’s energy and attitude. It’s in your face. While elements of funk music can be subtle, on the whole it should have a sense of power to it. It should make you want to move your feet, swing your hips, bob your head, snap your fingers. It should be, in a word, funky.

Drift, the debut effort from Germany’s The Winston Brothers (the nom de musique for producer and instrumentalists Sebastian Nagel and Lucas Kochbeck), is described in their promotional materials as being funk that is both “dreamlike and incendiary.”

Unfortunately, Drift only got half of it. It is definitely dreamlike. What it lacks is any sense of fire.

What’s good about it? It’s impeccable musically. Everything is performed with style and skill; the analog production is tight and dirty. (The Brothers share a dislike for digital music. In this style, that’s appropriate. The CD’s centerfold shows all their vintage analog production equipment, and it’s damned impressive.)

The problem is the utter lack of fire. Even on upbeat numbers like the title track, the music seems repressed or suppressed. The horns, which should blow your socks off, are almost polite. The mix seems off; nothing is as punchy as it should be. Sure, it’s funk, and stylish funk as well, but it’s like the perfect chili with no chiles. Something is missing, and it’s sad.

I really hope the next CD by the Winston Brothers has that punch. They’re very good at the technical aspects of what they do; they just need more heart, more grit, and more Richard-Roundtree-walking-through-traffic attitude. Time will tell if they get it.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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