Steez: CREEPFUNK CRUSADE
Posted 4/14/2010 by cal
No matter what definition of “creep” you try to apply to the admittedly
funky music played by Madison, Wisconsin’s Steez, it seems like a somewhat
arbitrary prefix that probably just sounded cool and stuck, but I’ll
give the band a break on semantics because its music is damn good. Does
the music creep up on you? Not really; its basis is pretty
groove with a dash of techno, with some outstanding brass hooks, a good
mix of strummed and picked guitar and a fat but busy four-string. In
most cases, even if this type of mélange catches fire live, it ends up
as faceless funk on record. Give Steez credit for bucking the trend
with some truly memorable songs.
The secret ingredient is a lot more synth atmospherics than you might
expect, whether it’s Keith Emersonian Moogisms, 80s Casioporn, jamtronic
beats or smooshed fuzz-bombs. The keys sometimes ride a shaky tightrope
to just barely avoid toppling into cheez, but once the songs grow on
you (quickly), you realize every flourish fits. It’s too bad about the
colorless bass mix; they tried a lot of different flavors and most just
don’t quite jive, but it doesn’t undermine the party. Even though Steez
predominantly exudes that funkstrumental glow, I’m hoping for some more
of these hazy, warm harmony vocals from “Rufio” on the next record.
For now, I’ll just shake my booty contentedly.