Free and legal MP3: Tim Chad & Sherry (’70s funk homage, w/ spirit)

Tim Chad & Sherry

“The Love I Make” – Tim Chad & Sherry

A thick slice of faux-’70s white-boy funk, paying homage to a generous variety of that decade’s full- and part-time practitioners, from Atomic Rooster to the Average White Band to Hall and Oates to Talking Heads. Not to mention David Bowie and maybe even the Grateful Dead. And somehow it comes together, and somehow—an important point, to me—it sounds fresh without sounding ironic.

Part of it, I think, has to do with what I was talking about last week, about music that makes you smile. If a band is being ironic, they might make you smirk, or prompt a slow knowing smile; if a band is being genuine, any smile provoked is pure—it comes to the face without the brain getting in the way. I think the intro groove is just plain happy—funky, yes, but also spiffy and elaborate in the interplay between what sounds like a synthesizer (or two) and a bass, each playing a skittery, dance floor line. The next thing to listen to is the keyboard, which has a throwback organ sound, and is used once the singing starts with the lightest possible touch, deftly echoing the end of lyrical line. Just when the musical language has seemingly been established, two loud additions crash the party—the guitar, low-register and clangy, beginning at 0:49, and then the snare drum (1:02), which had been missing in the percussion until then. With the drummer now fully engaged (I like his sense of rumble and spirit) the song breathes with added fire. In the end, maybe, authenticity emerges through simple presence: through a sense that the musicians are engaged moment to moment, both individually and collectively. The trippy guitar solo (2:14 etc.) is an obvious highlight; less obvious, maybe, is the allure of the song’s sneaky lack of structure—it’s built on a series of clipped lyrical lines that use the underlying funk to rise and fall as if we are hearing verses and choruses but we probably aren’t, and give the song its ongoing feeling of play and inspiration.

Tim Chad & Sherry is a quartet (go figure) founded by Brian Kotzur, formerly of the Silver Jews. (There is no one named Tim, Chad, or Sherry in the band, by the way.) “The Love I Make” is from the group’s debut album, Baby We Can Work It Out, released this month on Cleft Records. MP3 via Cleft. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.

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