Busty and the Bass’ Uncommon Good is timelessly funky and unique
We are in an age where many people would agree that pop music has become the least authentic genre. Every artist is categorized by sounding like someone similar and thanks to the influx of streaming, many songs are being written by a team of writers that create based on what gets the most listens.
This is where a band like Montreal’s Busty and the Bass stands—surrounded by people constantly trying to label them under one genre or compare them to other groups. But the nine-piece electro-jazz fusion group has an advantage. While some of their songs fall into a specific genre like funk, soul, or jazz, they have quite a few that are pioneering untapped sounds.
“It’s been an issue giving somebody a cohesive sound byte and being like, ‘This is our band,’” says bassist Milo Johnson.
The band’s first full-length, Uncommon Good, dropped last September and was produced and mixed by the legendary Neil Pogue who has worked with artists such as Outkast, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nicki Minaj, and most recently, Tyler, the Creator. The members of Busty and the Bass got a chance to work closely with Pogue over the course of the record and nail down that ‘timeless’ sound they were searching for.
“We’re still searching for where we belong and our place in the modern music landscape, but for Neil to come in and have this confidence and vision and this long term perspective was so valuable,” Johnson says. “You can’t get that internally when you just have a bunch of 20 somethings trying to figure out how to make a great record.”
Uncommon Good almost sounds like a hybrid child that would result from D’Angelo and his laid back soul meeting with George Clinton’s (Parliament-Funkadelic) outlandish funk. Throw in some jazz orchestra improvisation that resembles something in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly universe, and you’re slowly getting a sense of what Busty and the Bass sounds like.
Each musician has an intimate relationship with their instrument of choice whether it’s alto sax, synth, guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, or piano and it helps that they all sing backup in harmony. The bulk of Busty and the Bass’ lyrics come from Nick Ferraro, whose honey-dripped voice fits with the style of Bruno Mars. They are also backed up by wordsmith Alistair Blu, bringing a hot hip hop element to the evolving sound.
“We have a band with so many guys that have such a range of influences already,” Johnson says. “For example, all the authenticity is in hip hop, which is why that is pop music right now.”
The two constants that remain in every Busty track are ridiculous energy melded with a clear groove. Lending on an Outkast vibe, a song like “Memories and Melodies,” constantly keeps the intensity glued together by enchanting horns, funkified guitar hooks, and spitfire rhymes.
This energy translates very well in a live setting. Having a background in jazz, each member easily plays off the other offering unique sounds that differ from the record.
“We’re able to bring the vibe of a jazz show where everybody gets a moment in the spotlight with solos, but we incorporate a bunch of genres like hip hop,” Johnson says. “It feels fresh to the audience because it feels fresh to us and we are doing something different every night.”
Sat., Mar. 10 (8 pm)
Busty and the Bass w/ Schwey
The Rec Room South
$15 at yeglive.ca