Montreal’s own The Brooks were once called the “best kept funk secret in town” by La Presse; four years later, hot off the release of their second full-length album, it’s hard to disagree. Any Day Now, released independently last October 23rd, offers a barrage of dynamic, soulful and relentlessly energetic funk music that is gripping from start to finish, and only gets better with time. One can only wonder how far this group could have gone if their busy 2020 touring schedule hadn’t been robbed from them by COVID-19.
Because they flawlessly blend a modern jazzy feel with old-school funk vibes, it’s easy to see why critics and music fans alike love this band. The spirit of funk greats James Brown, Herbie Hancock and Parliament, to name just a few, is well present. However, The Brooks bring a modern sound and a refreshing dose of sass to the genre. “Are we gettin’ paid for this?!” frontman Alan Prater quips in the closing seconds of “ZENDER (the MTL).” Any Day Now is riddled with such fun one-liners, onomatopoeias and musical jokes, making it a fun listen as well as musically compelling.
Prater’s energy, laid-back vibe and just-in-your-face-enough attitude is only the top layer; all eight members of The Brooks bring an essential element of sound and feel into play, beginning with bandleader and bassist Alexandre Lapointe. His eclectic, yet distinctive playing anchors The Brooks’ sound in a beefy, tight and authoritative universe of that classic filtered bass sound funk fans will instantly recognize and love. This highly dynamic and soulful core is complemented beautifully by drums, percussions, guitar, keyboard, saxophone and trumpet.
Any Day Now gets off to a slow start with the orchestral-sounding intro “Nebula” that seems just a little bit out of place; at just under four minutes, it may wear your patience thin if you don’t know what’s coming next. After that, though, the party really gets started with “Drinking,” a laid-back party tune whose jazzy accents are just bizarre enough to keep you interested. Other highlights include lead single “Gameplay,” perhaps the filthiest and grooviest tune on Any Day Now. Check out that song’s official video here. For those who prefer electronic sounds, the synth bass and keyboard drone on “Issues” are downright hypnotic. Later on, the samba transition in “The Crown” will almost certainly get you on your feet! The bottom line is that aside from a few contrasting moments thrown in for variety, this album doesn’t let up one little bit. It really is a barrage of energy, groove and good vibes, in the best possible way, yet manages to remain chill and laid back.
Don’t give this album a miss! It just might stay in your rotation for some time yet.
Written by Henri Brillon
*Edited by Chris Aitkens