The latest from keyboardist Ray Paczkowski and drummer Russ Lawton’s funk duo Soule Monde is a short, but well worth your time, EP. Smashed World‘s five tracks cover almost a wide range of funk.
Smashed World features two live tracks. “Allah Uya” breaks from Soule Monde’s usual drum/organ duo featuring Mihali Savoulidis (Twiddle) on guitar. The song starts out with a light, bouncy feel that gradually gets heavier as the three play it out. “Tango,” the other live track, starts out very organ heavy, reminiscent of Garth Hudson’s organ work with The Band. It then moves into a steady groove with an Eastern European feel to it.
The three studio tracks couldn’t be more different from each other. “Influence” is a jazzy number that features some great interplay between Paczkowski and Lawton with both taking the lead at various points. “Must Be Nice” starts out with a slow funk tempo that gradually evolves into a dirty, danceable groove, keeping that slow funk. Finally, their funky cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” closes out the EP.
The theme behind Smashed World, as with much of Soule Monde’s work, is funk and more funk. The close relationship between Paczkowski and Lawton is evident throughout. They are masters at listening to each other and then building off the other’s work. Paczkowski’s organ fills out the sound, giving the songs a full band feel, while Lawton’s drumming is not simply there to keep the rhythm. Fans of funk and jazz would enjoy this EP.
Paczkowski and Lawton are currently on tour with the Trey Anastasio Band. Soule Monde will be opening for Twiddle on New Year’s Eve at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont. Tickets are still available.
Key Tracks: Must Be Nice, Tango, La Grange