New music can only be created by taking what has gone before and doing something different with it. That might be pushing its boundaries to breaking point, creating whole new genres in the gaps between or fusing the ones that already exist in new and unusual ways. It is from this last approach that Electric Cannibals get their name and Víctor Chirivella and Dani Yébenes, the people behind it, strip everything that they love from such stalwart sounds, as rock and funk, R&B and jazz, blues and folk, and much more besides, and use those musical strands as sonic building blocks for their songs.
And the result is fantastic. Deft blends of smooth blues mix with soulful grooves, funky basslines drive incendiary guitar salvoes, Latin vibes dance with rock power, jazzy intricacy with pop immediacy. All boxes are ticked, all bases are covered.
The Groove, the aptly named opener, is the perfect calling card for what the album is about, gentle funk and sultry soul working in perfect harmony as distant, rock guitars shift and shuffle, drive and delve. From there they mix their focus, leaning into one sound or another as the mood takes them. Separate Ways is unashamedly a rock track, but rock in the same what that bands like Santana approached the task at hand. Right If I’m Wrong is a shuffling and groovesome slice of Latin-soul and then you have the likes of Circles which seems to embrace both styles into one energetic anthem.
Love & Ashes sees them exploring blues intricacies with soul-pop sweetness and gospel harmonies and Something to Believe in is built of the funkiest flavours, reminiscent of the best of 70’s soul-funk such as Curtis Mayfield or Issac Hayes, and for the younger listener, Kendrick Lamarr.
I’ll never understand why more bands don’t blur such lines, after all, the most interesting music isn’t found in the safe and conformist central spaces of each genre but in the collision zones where all of these genres meet and mingle. And that is something that Electric Cannibals know only too well. But then, it is about the skills you need to get the balance right. Understanding what each sound and style brings to the table and utilising it to the fullest effect, again something that One is a masterclass in.
Víctor Chirivella and Dani Yébenes have created a fantastic album. One that soars rock’s sky-searing heights as well as wandering through soul’s smooth lulls, which grooves as hard as any dance track but which understands understatement, relishes restraint.
Whilst plenty of young bands are embracing the idea of post-genre music, throwing off sonic tribalism, ripping up the rule book, I suspect this is the attitude and approach with which these two master composers have always approached their music making.