(5 / 5)
Lettuce pray! Salad days are here! Cos I said so! OK, I know these puns are well past their tell-by date, but it cheered up my day – so sue me!
To be serous….US funkateers Lettuce drop their eighth studio album and it is a tasty morsel. Their previous long player, 2020’s “Resonate” really was superb, but this one betters it.
The Boston sextet stayed with Colorado Sound studios in Denver as their go-to venue to record this album, the third consecutive album to be recorded here. Might be something in the Denver water, but all three albums, “Elevate” (2019), “Resonate” and this latest banger, “Unify” are essential additions to any modern day funk fan’s music collection.
Largely instrumental – 16 tracks including some short interludes – with four vocal cuts, the emphasis is on nailing the groove and the palpable chemistry of a unit tighter than my bank manager! Heavy nods to Tower Of Power throughout – which is a positive. Red hot horn arrangements courtesy of trumpeter Eric Bloom.
“RVA Dance” opens proceedings, in a TOP/Average White band style. Lovely stuff. “The Lock” templates the groove on TOP’s “Squib Cakes”.
Funk icon Bootsy Collins sings on track two: “Keep That Funk Alive”, a single released in May. Previous cuts lifted from the album are the Meters-like “Gravy Train” (with a mutha of a bass and drum track) and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” – the latter a re-working of a Clark Sister’s tune by the band’s keyboard master Nigel Hall.
“Change The World” is a juicy slice of jazz-funk, EW&F vibes. “Get It Together” could deffo be a Tower Of Power cut; bass Erick Coomes and drums Adam Deitch channelling Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia and David Garibaldi big time and bloody superb.
Almost 30 years since Lettuce formed as teenagers, the pandemic and lockdown saw them off the road for the first time in their history, and restricted to write in their respective homes, apart from each other. They had not been together since a prematurely ended European tour in spring 2020. Hence the album’s title, as the guys felt they needed to unify.
Self-produced, the band resurrected some tracks left over from previous recording sessions for “Elevate” and “Resonate”, working with engineer Jesse O’Brien to bring the new stuff to life.
- The band have a UK show on 20th September at London’s Scala that kicks off a set of European dates.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’