Fake Flowers Real Dirt combines a mixture of old school funk with a contemporary sound on their self titled, four song EP release. This nine piece band lays down a serious foundation of grooves, through the use of driving bass lines, thick keyboard patches, and funky horn stabs, as they twist and turn their way through a myriad of styles and tempos.
The band introduces their distinctive sound on “Bullets Thru The Fire”, with a 6/8 ride cymbal jazz waltz that quickly becomes an organic uptempo jam, filled with electronic patches and vocals reminiscent of Soul Coughing.
“On the One,” combines a syncopated drum beat section that has the feel of Maroon Five’s “This Love”, with a heavy soul influenced verse that highlights vocalist Billy D. Williams laid back delivery and vocal style. This heavily arranged tune, features soulful breakdowns, heavy horn lines, and a keyboard solo by Paul Haney that feels like it could quote P-Funk at any moment. Also of note, is an alto saxophone solo by Eugene Chapman that shows an understanding of contemporary jazz, and a mastery of altissimo.
Throughout the entire EP, snippets of old school funk and rap are infused into the music by Jeremy “Elation” Olsen, with the use of turntables. The implementation of turntables as an instrument, is part of what gives Fake Flowers Real Dirt their updated sound.
“Three Days Straight” puts the bass and drums out front, with an intro that highlights the constant foundation and solid lines played by bass player Ethan Montgomery, and the energetic mixture of syncopation and pocket groove by drummer Kevin Shuss. With this arrangement, FFRD pulls out all of the stops, including: stabby tight horn lines, an extra dose of band hits, and a flute solo with video game sounding keyboard patches.
“Reprise” is a slowed down, second take on “Three Straight Days,” that features Dave Eynck laying down a heavily distorted guitar foundation, and an exteneded tenor saxophone solo, performed by Ernesto J. Ponce.
WIth their new self titled EP release, Fake Flowers Real Dirt has put themselves on the map as one of Baltimore’s most promising up and coming bands to watch.
Featured musicians: Billy D. Williams (vocals), Brian Escavage (percussion), Dave Eynck (guitar), Ernesto J. Ponce (tenor sax), Ethan Montgomery (bass), Eugene Chapman (alto sax), Jeremy “Elation” Olsen (turntables), Keven Shuss (drums), Paul Haney (keyboards)
Review by: Scott Paddock