Dumpstaphunk – Dirty Word (2013)

Dumpstaphunk’s Dirty World is a layered delight, just as interesting on a close listen as Ivan Neville shares a sun-filled positivity as it as from the dance floor, where its twin-bass attack provides a thump that could bring down buildings.

It’s like the Neville Brothers, with whom Ivan has worked extensively of late, mixed with P-Funk — right down to the crazy-sexy vocal asides from newly acquired ace-in-the-hole drummer Nikki Glaspie. Elsewhere, Ani DiFranco, uncle Art Neville, the Rebirth Brass Band, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers appear, and yet so strong is this core funk aesthetic that Dumpstaphunk never gets lost in the mix of big names. They got here, after all, not by releasing studio efforts — Dirty Word is only Dumpstaphunk’s third project in a decade together, following the 2007 EP Listen Hear and 2010’s Everybody Want Sum. — but by playing together live, night after sweat-soaked night.

Oh, and you read that right: There is a moment on this album — due July 30, 2013, from Louisiana Red Hot Records — where Flea joins bassists Tony Hall and Nick Daniels for a truly thunderous run through “If I’m in Luck,” the old 1970s-era Betty Davis favorite. The title track finds DiFranco weaving through a syncopated, yet completely relentless cadence; Trombone Shorty adds some JB Horns-style wit to “I Wish You Would.” “Water,” the Larry Graham tune, is given a nasty run through. Dumpstaphunk then closes with the out-sized party track “Raise the House,” with a guest list commiserate with its massive groove.

But there’s more to the Dumpstapunk than, well, the phunk — as Dirty Word makes so gloriously clear. “They Don’t Care” welds guitar rock (guitarist Ian Neville remains an underrated presence in this band) together with gospel. “Blues Wave” is a greasy Delta-infused aside, complete with name checks for B.B. King, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. “Take Time” simmers like an old soul side.

It seems the dirty word in question was complacency. By pushing themselves into so many new areas, Dumpstaphunk ended up fashioning its best studio recording yet.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso