Album Review: Funke and the Two Tone Baby – Battles

Funke and the Two Tone Baby is a one-man alternative band with a distinctive and contemporary twist to it. This rocky creation is the virulent, creative and utterly addictive masterpiece of Daniel Turnbull; his debut album Battles is a burning, scattering blend between gentle folk music and seriously ramped up blues that creates something new from the ashes.

Battles opens with the stomping blues beats of Bella’s Kiss, a funky number filled with the rich, gravely vocals of Turnbull alongside a vibrant harmonica and belligerent guitar tune that draws you immediately into the album. It is an album that takes no prisoners as it works tirelessly to make you move or at the very least, sit smoking in the corner of a dark bar slapping your thigh every now and again. The music is quick and simple, the pace increasingly volatile as you are submerged deeper and deeper into the album. It has every etching of a great blues record, yet with a smoky, folky twist to it that belies a form of categorisation. Somewhere along the blurred lines it becomes difficult to tell the origins of either music or musician as they blend together in a haze and intermingle with the tentative, almost literary lyrics of Turnbull. His intricate songs are complimented with these dashing flurries of lyrics that could spread themselves as easily across a page as they can filter into your mind.

A large part of what sets Battles aside from so many of its counterparts is the eclectic and eccentric musical choices chosen by Turnbull for each track. It isn’t simply his style to alternate between the loud and brazen tunes, the likes of Battles and the gentle, traditional folk tones of I’ll Love You; but the dramatic twists and turns within each song that really make his work distinctive. Frequently utilising beatboxing and looping, he manages to create a considerate blend of old, crumbling blues tunes, not too dissimilar to the tunes of Tom Waites and spectacular, funky tunes that yank you firmly back into the present day. Cannonball is especially notable for this as it draws you contrasts between the past and present as it swings wildy with an unrelenting harmonica and a uniquely modern backing beat. The album itself is seemingly an intricate and constant contradiction of styles that meshes and works so flawlessly it’s awe-inspiring.

With Battles signifying the debut album, it’s clear that Funke and the Two Tone Baby is only going to face one monstrous problem in the future and that is living up to this incredibly complicated and emotive blend that should be nigh impossible to top.

Listen to the title track Battles here…


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Review by Joe Knipe

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