When I think of bands coming out of New Jersey, I naturally tend to think of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi or sometimes The Misfits. Indeed, some major trendsetters varying in different genres of music have come from the Jersey Shore for many decades. So when I first gave a listen to Déjá Vu, a five-song explosion from Stone Insomniac, I was wondering if they might have ignited something. Consisting of Chris Smith, Lynley Evans and Brian Abrecht, Déjá Vu mixes in funk, rock and soul with a “definite darker edge and overall fun vibe” according to the band.
Sometimes I have to be in the mood for funky jam music but perhaps the stuff I’ve heard from other local bands where I’m from haven’t turned me on that much. These guys did. Technically, the instruments are crisp, clean and tight and the echo effects are just right on the vocal parts, meaning they weren’t overused. The vocalist on the album title track, whom I believe is Chris Smith, sounds a little like Gordon Gano from the Violent Femmes meets a smidgen of Mick Jagger, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. There’s a great shuffling beat and key accompaniment that gives this number a ‘70s vibe as well.
“Eve” from what I could tell, is a playful song about a love struck person – “the apple’s much sweeter” – perhaps it’s about the flirting nature of humanity’s first couple. I love the break part in this song with the drums and bass playing off each other. And there’s a nice addition of a fuzz distortion guitar at the end, too.
“Stone Blooded” has crazy good chord changes. The vocal chops sound like they come from a well-seasoned singer who’s been doing it for years accompanied by chilling background vocals from Lynley Evans. It has a darker flavor to it but like the band describes a fun vibe too.
“Traveling” had me truly stoked because of the mention of UFOs and “coast to coast” which immediately made me think of my favorite late night paranormal talk show, Coast to Coast AM currently hosted by George Noory and long hosted by the originator Art Bell. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch for the band to reach out to Noory and give him a call. If the band so desires, they should ask him to play this song as bumper music on one of his broadcasts – he plays all sorts of music. It’s at least worth a shot.
“Kraz Berry (Demo)” is another cool shuffling groove with echoing guitar and the riffs sounded familiar to me like something out of the ‘70s. After a few more listens, I am thinking a little Steely Dan is in there somewhere. For those who like jazzy funk instrumentals with change ups that give your ears a workout, this is the song you’ll want to listen to.
Did I mention the band’s timing? Songs like on Déjå Vu with breaks in between the beats can be hard for all members of any band, in short, staying in synch with one another comes with a lot of practice – I should know, I’m a drummer. These songs, in particular the title track, were spot on. However, if contemporary funk, rock and soul are not your thing then this band isn’t for you. But I would guess you’d change your mind after a few listens.
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