Oh, this is momentous. The first Parliament album proper since 1980 and it ain’t crap.
The great thing about Parliament and Funkadelic’s more esoteric groove is that so little was left out, anything could be the Funk. And watching George Clinton and his troupe of sidemen in their 3-hour live show a few years ago, anything was. There is little quality control here, sometimes it gloriously works, sometimes it’s chalked up to experimentation.
And here they are again, after a remix disc on the ‘Delic side, giving us a glut of 23 tracks to find your little light in. It a no surprise to see ‘Medicated Creep’ shimmying with a Shakira – type backing, blasting horns at us and warning with a nasty rap, nor to have Hendrix guitars and a falsetto slowie ‘Psychotropic’ follow it.
It can be more of the same here, the laziness of ‘Insurance Man’, Parliament’s trademarked dreamy vocal line over a click beat and a sweet rap. But who minds when ‘Ya Habit’ uncorks ‘Soul Revue’ horns and a chatty gang feel, the early 80’s cracking beat and squelch of ‘Riddle Me This’ whilst the fruity trumpet of the title track and confused chatting show their unsullied chaotic appeal.
They can present a gorgeous70’s Soul pastiche ‘DaDa’ and tight Princey Funk of the wonderful ‘Oil Jones’ but probably reach the heights of Parliament we remember on the big booty single ‘I’m Gon Make U Sick O’ Me’, jazzy horns going nowhere and a lounge backed Scarface tossed off rap, just glorious.
When they give a song to the rap they flirt with elsewhere, it just seems like one of those rising, sparse tracks we can hear on every US cop drama preview (you see, ‘Mama Told Me?), but the rap is front and centre in ‘Set Trip’ and the loose climbed Jazz backing reclaims it beautifully. Does it work? How dare you ask…
This is a triumph, containing some players from the era of their pomp like horners Fred Wesley and pee Wee Ellis, plus those Clinton has gathered around him over the years; it has too many tracks, it has too much ordinary rap, it has too little direction.
But that’s the point of Parliament, there is so much Funk to go round, they give you it all. It’s a dressing up box, as George says in his ‘Cinderella Theory’, try these on, see if they fit; what a lovely time trying.
They have taken control of your music and will return it when you are funky…
Out On Clinton’s C Kunspyruhzy
Remedy Rating: 5/5 The Dr Is In…