Cinnamon Toast Funk
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Cinnamon Toast Funk

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
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""Feels Much Better" Album Review"

Funk is back and better than ever! Being released Mar. 5, 2010, the debut album of Abbotsford's own Cinnamon Toast Funk is, without a doubt "Magically Delicious."

The album, Feels Much Better, is remarkably diverse; it manages to be classy without taking itself too seriously. The songs range from the comical but thoughtful ballad "Sugarwaterlemons" to the slow and sexy love song "The Lover's Glide." A common groove links all 11 tracks, though, making it a joy to listen through the album from start to finish. The songs range in length from just over three minutes to six and a half.

What could have been a terrible clash, combining light-hearted comedy with deep, soulful Funk, is really what gives Feels Much Better such a fun, charismastic personality.

In a September 2009 interview, Cinnamon Toast Funk explained that until their lead singer Harrison Mooney joined--their only black member--the choice to play funk music was mostly in jest. "It was almost kind of a joke... we thought it would be really funky to be this macho funk band... these two white guys. It started off as a joke," said Adrian Peters, who plays drums. Well, adding the silky smooth pipes of Mooney definitely paid off.

Cinnamon Toast Funk, together since last January, features five members. In addition to lead singer Mooney and drummer Peters, the band also includes Aaron Dahl on Guitar, keyboardist Bryan Binnema and Jason Vander-Hoek on bass. Binnema and Vander-Hoek also contribute vocally.

On a personal blog, Mooney describes his band with greater precision than this review would otherwise feature. He explains, "We are an energetic band who dabbles in the Motown sound, New Orleans funk, and the soul music of the 1970s. It's a fun sound and a fun band to be in because it's my favorite kind of music." The influences are clear, but the band doesn't feel as though it belongs back in the 70s, either; it is unquestionably fresh. Funky fresh.

The lyrics are often deliberately tacky, but simultaneously charming. Only those with no groove will manage to avoid singing along to the catchy chorus of the final song: "Sitting funkencenter, and it feels much better. You funk my battleship, and I can hardly handle it."

There are a number of phenomenal tracks on Feels Much Better. Besides "Funkencenter," the previous and feistiest song of the album "Pig With a Pearl" is also not to be missed. "Sugarwaterlemons" is the story of a young boy at a lemonade stand who becomes enamoured with a woman for the first time. The best the album has to offer, though, is the comedic styling of "Magically Delicious", the first song on the album, which goes perfectly with the name of the band. "I'm healthy and nutritious, baby (part of a blanced meal). I won't be undersold. So if you want a bite of me, take a bite into my soul," brags the chorus of one of the cockiest songs of all time.

The album's funkiest, however, is "The Lover's Glide," a song that romantics should not ignore. "Love, I wanna get to know you," Mooney's voice beckons softly as the song begins. "Hey love, we've got all the time we need." Before long the song starts to get steamy. "Cause friction is affection, when our souls collide, and we do the lover's glide. I wanna celebrate you baby. And I wanna get to know you sugar. Cause I just wanna show you how much I love you. And I love you." Now that is worth getting funky to!

The weakest and most forgettable of Feels Much Better is "Bumpin'," which is perhaps the only track that doesn't deserve multiple listens. Following closely is "Gonna Get Yours" which has some great moments, but ultimately falls short of the high standard set by the rest of the album.

What Cinnamon Toast Funk provides is a well-needed change from the usual, with funky beats and thoroughly entertaining lyrics. Feels Much Better answers the question that no one thought to ask: "What would it be like if funk was cool in 2010?"

Check out a few of their best new songs at cinnamontoastfunk.com. - The Cascade


"CD Release Show Concert Review"

I'm sure I'm not the only one, considering the Cascade's readership, that hasn't been to an all ages show in awhile. That was the scene last Friday night at the Abbey Arts Centre where kids of all ages packed in for the CD release party for Cinnamon Toast Funk. Teens with vodka-filled slurpees in hand and clad in shorter that ever skirts, parents, and college students alike were in for a great evening.

[...]

Taking the stage in matching outfits, and headlining the night, were Cinnamon Toast Funk. The band had in instant stage chemistry which had every member of the audience hooked immediately.

In support of their release, Feels Much Better, which was reviewed in a recent issue of the Cascade, CTF played all the tracks from the album. The songs were often notably amped up as there was a second guitarist on stage. Similarly, guitar, drum and keyboard solos seemed to soar a bit louder, faster and stronger.

Notable highlights came in the form of sing-a-long inspiring songs like "Anytime is a Good Time" and the fantastic Michael Jackson cover, on which lead singer Harrison Mooney nailed every note. It is always a pleasure to have a crowd chant "grab that junk and strap me to the funk."

Funk has always come with a sense of humour and CTF is no exception. Mooney and bass player Jason are as much comedians as they are musicians. Their onstage rants and playful banter is great to watch and makes for an ever better show.

The boys have a huge bag of tricks to use when they perform. Instruments are played behind backs, band members wander into the crowd and jive with concertgoers and jumping splits are performed. The crowd then can't help but return that favor and Friday's crowd danced through the whole set.

Overall it is in this spirit, one of seriousness in their love for music that will see CTF rise to greater heights. They come armed with a serious arsenal of killer tunes. Look out for them later this month at the Duke of Dublin and pick up a CD, you'll Feel Much Better. - The Cascade


Discography

Feels Much Better - LP (2010)

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Bio

Wandering a supermarket after mixing his allergy medication and a muscle relaxant, drummer Adrian Peters found himself in the middle of the cereal aisle. Muttering to himself like a crazy person, staggering about like a drunk, he began riffing on the cereals. "Cinnamon Toast Funk," he said to himself, groggy but pleased with his play on words. When he finally came to his senses, the only thing he could remember is that he had come up with the best band name in the world for a funk band. Suddenly, he remembered that he was white. His hopes were dashed.

At work, the next day, he told Bryan Binnema, his co-worker and virtuoso keyboard player. White or not, Bryan was immediately convinced Cinnamon Toast Funk had to happen. It would be a joke, he proposed, just two white guys convinced of their own soulfulness and their own propensity for sexual healing.

It was then that Harrison Mooney, the charismatic vocalist and all-around black guy, entered the store, asking to order a kalimba. Beards were stroked. It stopped being a joke. When bassist Jason Vander-Hoek, guitarist Aaron Dahl, and percussionist Mike Michalkow joined the fray, Cinnamon Toast Funk had gone from a waking dream from a half-stoned fool to the fulfillment of a six guys' funky destinies.

There was a knock at the door. It was The Funk. "I have done this," he said. "Now make me proud." And with that, he was gone. The rest is yet to come.