Mama's Funky Flow
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Mama's Funky Flow

[review] Laura Vane & The Vipertones – Roof Off 12" (UNIQ 164)

September 27th, 2009 . by zephirnl

Roof Off Remixes EP CoverI already mentioned them reminding me of ‘Gorillas in the mist’ in this tweet (in response to this tweet, in turn a response to this one). Now that the day has come to actually write something, let’s start from this comparison. Like gorrillas in the mist, Laura Vane & the Vipertones will hit you hard when faced unprepared. They will hit you hard with relentless funk rhythms and a raw, powerful voice. The voice that Steve at MonkeyBoxing dubbed ‘a voice that ends wars’, which started the whole twitter discussion. Which brings this ridiculous comparison to a full close, but the funk & rawness is not nearly over.

The album has finally been released in all its glory, and not only is it gathering great reviews, it is also accompanied by a new 12″ single, featuring the stomping track ‘Roof Off’ in an extended DJ friendly re-edit, a remix by Diesler and a remix by the Part Time Heroes, keeping it all ‘in the family’. I’m gearing up to do a full review of the album in the near future, but for now, let’s look at the 12″, which was released around the same time as the LP.

The A side is The aforementioned ‘Roof Off (original extended version)’. Thanks to the press release, I can tell you that it’s the Vipertones’ own Phil Martin that is responsible for chopping and up the lead track and reassembling it into a grooving steady built up track that will fit snug in your funk mix. The B side kicks off with the same track, but remixed by ‘Daddy D.’ Diesler, adding a bit more electronics but still keeping the steaming pace of the original. It sounds a bit more subdued in spite of the added percussion, because the rawness of the original is polished to the background. Still a good tune, but it sounds like this is a finished, mastered version of the demo on which the final (album) version was based, by condensing it into pure funk and replaying it live explosively. The second B-side track completes the trio, and although the production of ‘Mean Lover (Part Time Heroes Remix)’ is not by one of the Vipertones’ own, it is kept close in the family tree. Laura Vane’s brother is half of the duo, and with this knowledge it is no wonder that PTH know how to handle miss Vane’s vocals. Even with the original track sounding completely different, they make it sound like the vocals have never known any other instrumentation and were specially sung for this production. The disco vibe is, as the british say, not exactly my cup of tea, but with LV on the vocals, who cares? The execution is excellent.

To summarize; the ‘Roof Off Remixes EP’ is a good 12″. But the main reasons for this being a good EP are not that you cannot afford to miss out on these tracks, I’m afraid to say. The to notch production and Laura Vane’s voice are the main reason that this EP is worthwile. But each of the songs on this EP has a better, rawer, punchier version on the Laura Vane & the Vipertones LP. So if you don’t own any music by them yet, then go buy the LP, but if you already own that LP and simply want more, this is not a bad piece of black plastic to throw your money at. Buy from your local record shack or your favorite online retailer (or Juno).

The Vipertones just recorded at least two more (new) tracks last week, so expect more to come in due time. It seems like the modern funk/soul movement has a new player in the front lines and they keep steaming forward in full gear. Also check out the soulful 7″ ‘Good & Plenty b/w Soul to Soul’ Ton & Phil have just released with the Soul Snatchers. And Diesler is gearing up to release his new LP in November, called ”Confessions Of A Dieslerous Mind” and featuring Laura Vane, Stee Downes (Sonar Kollectiv), Linda Bloemhard (The Jazzinvaders), Caroline Ekstrom & Double Yellow.

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