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CD Review: Bubonik Funk's Oddfish, Vol. One 

Independent; Release date: June 10, 2014

Charlotte funk-rock quartet Bubonik Funk has been conjuring up vibes straight out of the 1960s and '70s thanks to exploratory guitar riffs, slinky bass grooves, soulful vocals and drum beats that hold it all together. Together since 2006, Bubonik Funk has grown and matured over the years, culminating in the band's first EP release in two years.

Oddfish, Vol. One, recorded with Charles Holloman Productions and engineered by Jason Scavone (The Hot Gates, Noises 10), presents six songs of some of the band's best songwriting to date. Where in the past Bubonik Funk may have been relegated to some kind of passed-over "frat-rock bar band with too many cover songs" category, there's a maturity and focus within the Oddfish songs.

There are plenty of effects on guitarist Stefan Kallandar's notes, but they do little to diminish his Berklee College of Music's talents. Drummer Daniel Allison can change rhythms on a dime when needed — and it happens often. The band can stop and start on a whim while improvising a jam (see the album's first single, "Ghost Child"), or simply letting singer Dylan Ellett wander between jazz, rock, funk and reggae styles to set the song's tone.

"Ain't Too Hard," driven by the bass of Nick McOwen, gets a bit repetitive in riff and lyrics, but one can easily imagine the song stretching its borders in the live setting to give all four members plenty of room to showcase their wares. It's been a long handful of years to get to this point, but Oddfish, Vol. One shows that Bubonik Funk is steadfast in their musical direction.

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