Hearing Aide: Funktional Flow ‘Time Will Tell’

Buffalo’s Funktional Flow is starting to gain momentum.  The start of 2015 saw the band undergo line-up changes. By the end of the year, Flow (as they are simply called by their fans) was in the studio recording their latest release Time Will Tell. The band has just under six years in the city’s emerging jam scene, but they are a prominent force in Buffalo’s budding community.  Time Will Tell is a reflection of that.

The band’s latest release is an amazing representation of what Funktional Flow has become known for in the Queen City – organic funk fusion. They create a swirling blend of funk rhythms laced with Americana.  Hints of folk, rock and bluegrass pour from the guitar work of Jeffrey Kuebler and Joey Lewis.  Matt Lester adds his own variety of swing style keys and saxophone jazz elements to the mix. Bassist Ben Whelan and drummer Jim Edgar head up the band’s moniker funk sound with a solid foundation of groove and drive.

Time Will Tell is Funktional Flow’s coming of age album.  Recorded and produced at Sonic Farm Studios in Colden, NY, the album is a glimpse into a group of musicians with no restrictions on their artistry.  The album is varied from personal and upbeat, to relaxed and driven.  With producers Dan Brace, Scott Nadolinski and Nick Sonricker, Funktional Flow have created a recorded look into a sound that is distinctly their own.

Of the albums twelve tracks, “Back Door” is by far the most successful.  It’s an earworm.  The kind of song you want to listen to on repeat.  It has the qualities of a song that gets people to listen to a band later simply because they want to hear “that” song again.  With a catchy chorus and a definitive groove, “Back Door” may just be the song to launch Funktional Flow out of the Western New York scene.

“Strong Feeling” could be the album’s most overlooked track, with a 90’s fusion that playfully captures the best of the decade’s sounds of ska, jam and college rock.

Songs like “Moving On” and “Time Will Tell” are the true showcase pieces of the signature Flow sound.  Thoughtful fusions of reggae, funk, and rock that feel like soundtracks for a day at the beach or an early summer drive with the windows down.

Funktional Flow isn’t afraid to go toward a more intimate place either.  The album’s second single “On the Way” is a personal look at embracing life’s changes – a song written by Kuebler after learning he and his wife were expecting.  And whereas a song of that style could lend itself to popish tendencies, there is a beautiful resolve to this tune that balances both the subject matter and the musical style.

The album concludes with an instrumental titled “Ben’s Beach”.  Its may sound fairy tale inspired, but it’s the kind of song you might listen to while sitting on the coast line at night.  There is a cool, calm variety of groove that at moments almost nods to fellow Buffalo groove rockers Aqueous’ in its spaciness and layered technical execution.

Musically, Flow is heading in the right direction.  Vocally, there is room for growth.  The bands two main vocalist, Kuebler and Lewis have very distinctive and different vocal styles.  And generally on the album, you hear them separately.  But if they can figure out a way to fuse their two styles and play more with harmonies and lyrical exchange, it could just be the extra “something” that makes Funktional Flow stand out.

Time Will Tell drops for official release on Saturday March 5. The band will be hosting a Roaring 20’s themed CD Release party at Buffalo Iron Works with special guests AjamajA. The CD will be available for purchase through Bandcamp.

Key Tracks: “Back Door”, “Strong Feeling”, “Time Will Tell”