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Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back review

Artist: Kings Go Forth
Title: The Outsiders Are Back
Label: Luaka Bop US
Genre: Funk/Rare Groove
Format: CD, Digital
Buy From: Juno Records, Juno Download

Released on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, a haven for rare gems from around the world comes Milwaukee-based funk phenomenons Kings Go Forth. The brainchild of rare funk DJ Andy Noble, these guys have come a long way very quickly – their first ever gig was supporting the ultra-tight Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in front of 700 people.

Though similar in many ways to the Dap’s winning revival of retro-funk and soul, what sets the Kings’ apart is having three male singers upfront and harmonising beautifully just like the Four Tops and the Temptations before them. You’re The One for example is drenched in harmonies during the choruses, while the gritty live sound of the bass and drums is captured perfectly. In fact you’d have to have a sharp ear to realise that this is not some unearthed treasure from 1971, similar to DJ Shadow’s re-releases of vintage Texan funk band Mickey and the Soul Generation. The vibe on songs like “Get A Feeling” is not only perfectly authentic, it’s also made for dancing and throwing funky shapes too. “Now We’re Gone” and “I Don’t Love You No More” are fast and energetic to the core, propelled by some fantastic fatback drums. There are some delightful slow tunes too which make great use of the three-part harmonies such as “High On Your Love”, a doo-wop ballad like you’ve never heard before, and the anthemic and R&B flavoured “Fight With Love”.

To make this an even more essential debut, disco production god and inventor of the remix Tom Moulton gets his hands on “Don’t Take My Heart” – an epic Philly soul belter with Moulton’s requisite mid-song extended breakdown present and correct. Whether you’re a hardcore crate-digger or just a fan of sweet soul music, there’s so much to get out of this fine debut it would be criminal to give it a miss.

Review: Oliver Keens