Album Review: Porky’s Groove Machine’s “Porkus”

Lawrence’s favorite funk band is back with a follow-up to last summer’s EP, “Make America Funk Again.” After a mini-tour in support of their new EP, Porky’s brings us “Porkus,” four tracks of syncopated silliness. It boasts the talents of their most recent lineup: Matt Lowe ’14 on trombone, Marshall Yoes ’15 on trumpet, Casey Frensz ’14 on sax, senior Ilan Blank on guitar, Nick Allen ’14 on bass, Eli Edelman ’15 on congas, Luke Rivard ’15 on auxiliary percussion and senior Jeremiah Lemke-Rochon on drum set. The entire band contributes vocals for the communal, party vibe.

As one of the oldest representatives in a new generation that either has not experienced Porky’s or has, but only very little, I sense the dire importance to keep spreading the word about this quintessential funk-meets-humor band. I can say without a doubt that “Porkus” is more than a suitable place to start. Right from the beginning you can tell that this band is something special; it is not often one hears a Gregorian chant open a funk track, but lo and behold, Lawrence University Harmonia does it with a perfect blend of musicality and goofiness. While this is the first and last we hear of the Harmonia feature, the blend echoes throughout the song and EP. I do not want to spoil the rest of “Porkus (The Tail of),” but I can say that no matter what, you will not expect what comes next.

“Lerry (Merry, Sherry, Perry),” what one could argue is the climax of the EP, has it all—a laidback beat, hip and simple horn lines and oodles of kooky jokes revolving around the misnaming of beloved member Jerry. The shtick was hilarious live when they played at McCarthy Co-op, and I was skeptical about how it would translate to the studio, but the band pulled it off well. Part of it most likely had to do with the spontaneity of how the EP was recorded. After learning the parts individually over the internet—the members span five cities—they got together and recorded in two days at Allen and Yoes’ house in Appleton, endearingly called “The Darsh Mansion.” The jokes are ripe, the rhythms are groovy and did I mention there is a chant with the lyrics “Porkus the pig?!”

So, youngsters, go download your copy of “Porkus” today and feast your ears on some sonic brunch. Visit <porkysgroovemachine.bandcamp.com> for music and merch.

 

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