Album Review: Funke and the Two Tone Baby – Denizen

Funke and the Two Tone Baby is the musical mind child of one Dan Turnbull, a man for whom the term ‘energetic’ would be a grave insult and a woeful misjustice. Turnbull has the kind of raw and violent energy that comes from the collision of tectonic plates and within his new album Denizen he tames this wild energy and whips it into a frenzied whirlpool of sound that has become his greatest work to date.

Having been watching Funke and the Two Tone Baby since the debut release of Battles a few years it has been a veritable rollercoaster ride as we have heard the rapid evolution of Turnbull’s sound. The music from Funke and the Two Tone Baby seems to almost breathe and grow as you listen – it almost feels as though Denizen is still writing itself as you listen, each song a natural progression from the last. This growth has resulted in an increased introduction of electronica influences and a creation of a collection of more sumptuous and dextrous sounds. Funke and the Two Tone Baby has always produced a powerful and virulent sound and with Denizen this still exists and in fact it towers over every note but whilst it might be looming over it, it is still relegated to the background and carefully overlaid with such a rich and stunning collection of more subtle tunes with a warm and familiar sound. Songs like Few More Hours branch out as they introduce 90s styled keyboard melodies and these careful touches all pull together to make you feel as though you are in the eye of the storm. Surrounded by a power that could tear you to shreds and yet there you are in the midst of it all just absorbed.

Denizen is an album that seems to embody the power of the world we live in, songs such as The World Will be a Wasteland seem to embody this. Designed to examine the state of the planet it feels as though the world is channelling all of its energy through Funke and the Two Tone Baby. Opening with Genghis Khan is like opening with a lightning strike, a song so packed with energy that Turnbull’s guitar strings may as well be made from electricity itself. This raw, crackling atmosphere that is created becomes violently addictive very quickly. As each song finishes you find yourself desperately hovering over the repeat button so you can enjoy it all again but at the same time there is a rift in you as you want to see where you will be taken next as you let the album play through. It’s a choice that you will always find yourself faced with no matter how many times you play Denizen through. Turnbull’s trademark husky voice rings out above his music like thunder rumbling in the clouds on the horizon. Rich, gravelled and highly spirited you are drawn to his voice like a moth to a flame. The playful jubilance that emanate from it alongside the raw power of his music and give his work a sense of playfulness.

One thing that is vital to remember as you listen to Denizen – you will find yourself surrounded by a stunning amalgamation of sounds the likes of which you have probably never heard before. You will hear the raw flood of power coming from each song but what you need to pinch yourself to remember is that it all stems from the fingertips of just one man. A heady combination of organs, harmonica, guitar and beatboxing is all just this one man in a room surrounded by wires and pedals. This energy fills you with a warm jubilance that makes Denizen the perfect album for any day of the year. Having single-handedly produced an album that could make a ten man band jealous it seems only natural that Denizen will doubtless set Funke and the Two Tone Baby as a household name far and wide.

Funke and the Two Tone Baby – Tour

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Review by Joe Knipe

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