Three years after I was mystified at their impressive debut, In Search Of Sun continues to confuse and amaze me. While The World Is Yours was a nice introduction into these Brits’ unique hybrid style, Virgin Funk Mother ups the ante in every way possible. What’s immediately obvious is that no one else even tries to sound like this band because, really, what is this that I’m listening to? Funky djentrified hard rock? Proggy funk metal? An Incubus-Periphery chimera?
There’s always a lot going on during any moment, but every song is chiseled down to its barest, most essential elements: hip-shaking grooves and licks, and Adam Leader’s massive hooks. His voice certainly has more than a trace of Brandon Boyd’s (Incubus) playfully melodic oomph, and the rhythm section never stops funking around in the background (oh hey, you can hear the bass!). All this results in a sound that is both carefully constructed and joyously executed. You can dissect the individual parts or play “what time signature is this?” However, these songs are way too damn fun. “Motherfunk” the simplest yet most effective slice of funk rock since the 90s steals the show; it’s the catchiest song of 2017 and may go down as one of my favorite songs of the year. Though both the preceding and following tracks are also masterclasses in thinking man’s hard rock.
I guess that sort of gets at why Virgin Funk Mother is a modern classic: it gives me the same feeling I had when I remember absolutely devouring some of my favorite records growing up. There’s a purposeful density to these tracks; yet, In Search Of Sun smartly understands how to craft the type of melodic punches that stay in your head for weeks (months/years). Nobody else really sounds like this, and that’s perfectly fine because In Search Of Sun have perfected their own micro-subgenre, whatever you want to call it. Virgin Funk Mother is the best record of 2017.