Funky Was the State of Affairs

Funky Was the State of  Affairs

Technology is turning us into zombies. Big Brother is pointing lasers at our heads. Someone is tapping our phones. That’s just a sampling of the tinfoil-hat theories espoused on FUNKY WAS THE STATE OF AFFAIRS (Hardly Art), the second album from Brooklyn-by-way-of-Denton duo FERGUS & GERONIMO. Dumb stuff, if it didn’t come with such a hip smirk planted on top. Smart alecks Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly don’t settle for the merely paranoid; they aim for the downright stoopid, going so far as to devote a song to their love—or is it hatred?—of Roman numerals. Such lunacy would be at home with George Clinton or Frank Zappa, but musically, F&G are worlds away from P-Funk or the Mothers of Invention. Their half-shouted vocals, metronomic rhythms, and rudimentary bass lines evoke the acerbic and harmonically thin white-boy funk of eighties new-wave bands like the Human League or Gang of Four, only sapped of all pretense. In fact, their closest precursor is probably Devo, with whom F&G share the same overarching conceptual bleakness and a surprising propensity to rock out. Though it’s hard to remember if even Devo was ever this cool. Or funny. F&G are gleeful genre miners; they steal from prog rock, metal, and Motown, while bemoaning  a friend’s social media addiction by noting “the urgent speed of droll replies each time you hear the bell.” Aside from the between-song skits, which are annoying in direct proportion to their length, Funky is a delight. Plus, it’s got a good beat. You can dance to it.

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