I’ve been a fan of Casey Frensz since I heard his release Spiral. His latest Captain Queso and the Revealing Science of Groove is his most cohesive. The songs have more of a similar musical foundation.
This release is an experimental funk album somewhere between Parliament-Funkadelic and Frank Zappa. It’s a fully realized album with rich instrumental work and catchy melodies that would sound good at a party or give you a little extra motivation while working out at the gym.
The album starts with “Posses” which is catchy song revolving around acoustic guitar, organ, bass and percussion. It’s a catchy song and one of the more straightforward songs. Up next is “Intro” which I thought might have been the first song but Frensz seems to throwing out all the rules.
On “Intro” Frensz sounds a bit like Alan Watts giving one of his famous psychedelic talks. Frensz creates the milieu of a dock with waves, birds, ships and some hyperbolic, cartoonish conversation. It’s well done and sounded professional.
“Tuning Up” is a great track that is funky, catchy and explores time travel with quantum physics. Perhaps even more exhilarating and dynamic is “Spaceship Stereo.” The customer service agent who gets oddly sexual making the patrons feel uncomfortable at the beginning is funny. Once the song actually kicks in I was very happy to be greeted with a falsetto and some of the catchiest vocal melodies.
“Captain Queso” has a dixieland style beginning that gets funky. This song reminded me of Ariel Pink but even more diverse in where the styles can go. The album gets a little aggressive while simultaneously sounding like Phish on “Let There Be Funk.”
I was a little worried about the anti-funk on “Forces of the Unfunky” but it’s really quite ok. There is some narration, great music and plenty of fun to be had. The band tips their hat to Peter Frampton on “The Way That You're Movin.’” It felt a bit like New Year’s and cocaine on “Re-Entry” while “Stormy Seas” is the most atmospheric and ambient piece. The album closes with “In the Groove” which made me feel like I was poolside in Las Vegas with a margarita in the ’70s.
Captain Queso and the Revealing Science of Groove is a long journey that takes time to fully explore. That journey however never feels laborious like I had to dig into the details to understand it at a more cerebral level. The album is visceral and one I highly recommend.
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