Warning: If you’re more of a conservative music fan, then you may want to put on a Nickelback album or whatever you conservative folks listen to, because Criticull‘s album What’s That Funky Smell? is not for those who like their music less spicy with happy lovey crap or auto-tuned generic words. They categorize themselves as dick doom (among other genres), so that may give you an idea of what I mean.
The first song “Snake Charmer’s Swing” was one anyone with a penis could appreciate. The track throbbed hard with a funky, saxophone-infused sound, dotted by crunchy riffs and the statement, “We want lots of oral sex!” along with more perverted musings. I knew by the end of this first song that these cats are my kind of band. It also made me think of Montreal locals Kids Eat Crayons, and if they haven’t played together already, they should. It would be an insanely fun gig to see. I reckon it wouldn’t be too hard to pull off since they hail from Ottawa, Ontario where, according to their Facebook page, they are currently residing in a garbage can. This album was far from garbage…unless the garbage is catchy-as-fuck music.
I was relieved to see Mr.Bungle listed as an influence, because the influence shines throughout this album. It’s a fitting comparison timing-wise, since on August 13th Mr.Bungle just celebrated 25 years since the release of their first album. (I’m not sure which Bungle album I was most reminded of by Criticull’s sound.)
On one track in particular called “Funky Smell” I could really hear the vocalist known as Cutter channel Mike Patton’s essence, especially during the chorus. He does have his own unique style, but it was hard to not notice where he draws his inspiration from. As a self-professed Patton addict, no complaints there!
Despite the album being only a mere twenty-five minutes long, these cats managed to pack in so many sounds, from the saxophone and crunchy riffs to touches of keyboard in just the right spots. I loved how there was a quick play of the classic circus favorite “Entry of the Gladiators” via keyboard during the song “DIC” for example – the track is just a killer catchy, hard, funky instrumental as a whole.
“Facebokkakkee” was one I really adored. It has a jug band hillbilly vibe, making it silly yet catchy, and the lyrics are a fun listen and commentary on social media.
The following track “Sumpinarump” is a really funky song about cavemen and mammoths, and who doesn’t love mammoths? Drummer Owlscar keeps up an almost “doo-woppy” kind of sound that I could picture some fun choreography going along with. The song has a great heavy metal-paced change a bit past the halfway mark, making this song a gravy mix of funky and fierce.
I can’t end this without mentioning that the bassist, simply known as Jon, has some skills! Throughout the album you can hear his handywork and it does not disappoint. I’d say it’s a safe bet Les Claypool is an inspiration. Oh, and he also does additional vocals, keyboards, and guitar. I’d be curious to see him changing up live, unless they get fill-ins or use recordings. For now I’m enjoying picturing someone running around like a crazed squirrel onstage juggling it all.
This was definitely one of more interesting listens I’ve had in a while, and I’m mad curious to catch them live sometime. If you’re a fan of Mr.Bungle, Infectious Grooves or just love funk and metal, be sure to scope these guys out!
Written by Angie Radczenko
*edited by Kate Erickson