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Rocket Juice & The Moon - Rocket Juice & The Moon
Reviewed by BBC, 22 March 2012

A set of very loose and very odd funk from bass-master Flea and some famous friends.

coverTo enjoy this excellent album, it probably helps to bear certain things in mind. Firstly, you should be aware that this is a funk album. A very odd funk album, but a funk album nonetheless. If you do not like funk, there is every chance you will not enjoy it. This may seem like an obvious thing to point out, but several early reviews of this 18-track gem have been written by the self-diagnosed funk-phobic who then go on to register their surprise that they have not really connected with it. But given that the rhythm section of the group includes arguably the worldís funkiest drummer (Tony Allen) and its most famous white funk bassist currently applying a bony thumb to a fretless instrument (Flea), itís hard to take these lukewarm reviews seriously.

Secondly, this is a jam album, and if youíre averse to looseness then this just isnít going to cut it. This album is hellishly loose. You know the old woman who lived in the shoe? The one who had so many children she didnít know what to do? This album is much looser than her. Imagine you got locked in a laxative factory with nothing else to eat for an entire weekend. Your stools on Monday morning would be compact and bullet-like compared to the looseness of this collection of synth funk, neo-Afrobeat, highlife, organic hip hop and nu-soul jams. In a final fit of total looseness, the band simply sent off a bunch of recordings to their record label and left it to the sleeve designer to give them and the album a name.

Thirdly, RJ&TM may also feature Damon Albarn as a core member, but his job here is not singing Kinks-inspired vignettes about pigeon fanciers called Bert who live in Surbiton in a Mockney accent. Instead, heís teasing a refreshingly unhinged wall of fizzing and bleeping sound out of an array of analogue synthesizers. To be fair he does sing on a couple of tracks, most notably Poison which is reminiscent of one of Blurís all-too-uncommon, introspective, sincere ballads. Vocal duties elsewhere are shared between an impressive international cast of singers and rappers, including the mesmeric Erykah Badu who, along with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, makes Hey, Shooter so memorable.

Put simply, this album is too stone to the bone for dilettantes or debutantes Ė but for those wanting a herbalised oddity that tips its scruffy, psychedelic cap to Fela Kuti, William Onyeabor, the Ohio Players, Fred Wesley, Augustus Pablo, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Bootsy Collins, this album is a genuinely enjoyable find.

 John Doran

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