“Nashville-based psych indie rock meets funk soul duo, Poster Child” was all I needed to read, not because I already knew Poster Child (I didn’t), but because I’m a sucker for the words “Funk” and “Soul”.
In a very pavlovian-like move, I already had my groove on before pressing play, expecting to thoroughly enjoy myself with some of my favorite sounds this side of Metal. And you better believe I did right to trust my gut because as it turns out, Poster Child’s “Super Nova” is…
Poster Child is the work of vocalist/songwriter Theresa Gorella and guitarist, songwriter, and producer Andrew Royal. Both are definitely exceptional at what they do and there’s no explanation other than “destiny” being what brought these two perfect creative complements of each other together.
At first, I didn’t really know where the “indie rock” comes into play, I was way too invested in the “Funk Soul” part, which is crystallized to absolute perfection in the EP. Both parts are there in equal measure, to the point where this record could very well become the textbook example of how both styles can and should coexist in a modern musical environment… the Poster of modern Child of Funk-Soul, if you will.
The EP exists in this unified narrative world where an ever-growing cast of characters and their gimmicks are introduced to the listener by each of the songs, the 5-track record spans a single night at Chateau Disco where each of these colorful characters coexists.
Poster Child collaborates with artist Tyler Champion, who hand draws illustrations for each song they release. Together the artwork and lyrics tell the story of an expanding cast of characters during a single night at Chateau Disco.
The first character we’re introduced to is the “Queen Bee”, a socialite funk performer who lights up every party and every dancefloor with her mere presence. “She’s the dance liberator the funky town savior” hails singer Theresa Gorella, who by this time, has shown herself to be a truly extraordinary singer, so much so that in the very next breath she issues the titular Queen an ultimatum “I’m no fool/ I’m gonna take her down Soon she’ll be begging me To take her funky crown,” she says, quickly proclaiming herself as the new Queen bee in town.
By the second time I listened to “Falling Apart” I did get a lot more of that Indie rockSound that was suggested, but there was also a lot more into the mix, including a subtle bit of a reggae skank guitar that makes the song stand out on its own two feet by leaning away from Motown just a little. I found that this song reminded me a lot of The Police, which Is of course very high praise in and of itself.
“I need Your love” traverses across funk and lands on the doorsteps of Disco to give us a song that embodies a raw-yet-smooth sensuality. This is an absolutely luxurious track that gets VERY intense, both in its rich musical arrangement and the overwhelming and mindblowing vocal performance by Theresa, who lets us have a taste of some truly impressive belting.
I can’t give any greater praise to this entire track other than naming it my favorite and confessing that I’m still reeling from it -I can’t help but laugh as I think about how unexpectedly awesome it turned out -especially on repeated listening- and while I’ve blown away more than once by the many artists I’ve covered so far this year, I think this song definitely earned a special place at the very top through its sheer power.
In a correct turn, “Space Camp” -unsurprisingly- slows things down to ballad turf to let us settle down after such an electrifying track and return to baseline. Though not quite as funky or Motown-y, “Space Camp” takes a lot of cues from Jazz, and Andrew Royal gets to flex his music muscles even more so with some added variety and range; in this song, he breaks up some of the loungiest sections with rather interesting progressive bass licks that elicited a very audible “NICE” from yours truly.
The fun space-age theme uses a lot of lingo and imagery to get this cute budding one-shot love story that seems to be about two people with a lot of chemistry hitting it off at the bar. Not to mention it resonates the best with the EP’s title.¿
Last But not least, it’s the enigmatic “Shinto Makamoto”, a track that rightfully returns the Funk-soul sound to the forefront just to close things with a bookend, with the titular Shinto being the last character we’re introduced to. Of course, this song doesn’t just feature the Funk-Soul paradigm alone. There are various other elements that seem plucked by hand out of everything we’ve heard before, resulting in a healthy blend of Afrobeat, retro-pop, and Alternative rock and an extra touch of psychedelia.
With this song, Poster Child set about narrating a day in the life of “a smooth-talking, eccentric Yakuza member.” Whom I imagine walks down the streets of Kabukichō district like John Travolta in the opening of Saturday Night fever. Kind of a quirky and exotic sendoff to an already quirky and exotic EP that knew how to make a very strong impact.
So how does the EP end up looking as a whole? About as Bright as a Super Nova, of course.
There’s no way I was not going to like this record from the very start, I just didn’t imagine I would end up being so thoroughly impressed by it. I believe kids would say “Poster Child didn’t have to go so hard with this EP”, but they did, and it kicks ass, and I’m glad that they went so hard because they’re a serious couple of artists and everyone needs to listen right now to what they’re making.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the artist Story: Samuel Aponte
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